The 5-year-old gelded son of Zavata, out of World of Gold, by Spinning World, cruised along at the back of the 12-horse field, moved from 10th to third coming through the turn then came alive mid-stretch, gobbling up ground between him and the leaders Morning Line and Cool Coal Man. With his head low and neck stretched, Dakota Phone caught Morning Line at the wire to win by a short head.
“I was pleased to see him dead last at the beginning because I knew that is how he likes to run,” said George Todaro, one of Dakota Phone’s owners. The others are Ted Aroney of Halo Farms, John Carver, and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
And run he did, hitting the wire in 1:35.29 and paying $77.40, $27.20, and $14.60. Morning Line finished second paying $7.40 and $5.20, while the leate-running Gayego was third and paid $6.80. Cool Coal Man faded to finish fourth.
Dakota Phone, whose run almost exclusively on California’s synthetic and turf courses, did have one of two lifetime starts on dirt this year. In April he finished seventh in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. Hollendorfer said that race was not indicative of how his horse handled the surface.
“The last time I ran him on dirt, I sent him to the lead, which I shouldn’t have done; this horse wants to come from off the pace,” he said. “This is why he won. He got fortunate and got a good pace up front, and the got outside and ran them down.”
Nick Zito, trainer of the tough-luck loser Morning Line and fourth-place Cool Coal Man, was stinging over the latest second place in a long line seconds he’s had this year.
“What to they say about adversity and God testing somebody?” he said. “I guess I’m becoming immune to it. But it’s amazing how tough this year has been. I have to be glad the way they ran.”
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Gayego and Vineyard Haven for Godolphin Racing, said he was pleased with Gayego performance but disappointed with Vineyard Haven, who finished sixth.
“He was traveling really well and when Alan (Garcia) came to the bend and asked him, there was nothing there.”
Hurricane Ike took the early lead with Morning LIne practically even on his outside through quarter-mile splits of :22.41 and :44.94. Morning Line hit the quarter-pole 1 1/2 lengths in front after six furlongs in 1:09.44.
Dakota Phone's sixth win in 32 races was worth $540,000 and boosted his career total to $1,273,810.
Cashmark Farm and Dakota Stables bred the winner in Kentucky.