Headley, who has compared Street Boss favorably to his champion sprinter Kona Gold at this point in their respective careers, wasn't thrilled that the 4-year-old Street Cry gelding was unable to switch leads after rallying off the turn five paths wide in the seven-furlong event. But despite the mistake and the extra ground he covered under jockey David Flores, Street Boss proved his gameness while holding off Elite Squadron despite drifting in late. They scored a half-length victory in a time of 1:22.42.
"I was six wide but everybody was pushing just to hold on," Flores noted. "I was in the best spot, the best position with the best horse. He wasn't getting tired at all. He was just looking around, just galloping. He made me work because he wanted to pull up. I had to tell him it's not over yet."
Street Boss rallied from the back of the six-horse field as High Standards set the early pace while severely pressured by Elite Squadron, a little slow into stride for jockey Rafael Bejarano. Fractions were :23.29 for the opening quarter mile and :44.97 for the half.
By that point, HIgh Standards had backed out and Street Boss, with nowhere to go, made a bold move on the extreme outside as the other runners in the race fanned out coming into the stretch. He reached the front inside the three-sixteenth pole and appeared to have the race under control heading down the lane. But Elite Squadron wasn't done at the rail and fought back under strong urging from Bejarano. Street Boss, under steady handling by Flores, who gave him a couple of taps with the whip, maintained the advantage through the finish line.
"(Street Boss) was getting tired and my horse was trying to come back," Bejarano said of Elite Squadron. "Three, four more jumps we might have got him."
Elite Squadron was 2 1/4 lengths clear of the show horse, Tropic Storm, ridden by Aaron Gryder. Global Hunter, Desert Code, and High Standards followed.
Headley said Street Boss would probably return to Del Mar next for the $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at six furlongs on Polytrack July 27. The ultimate goal, he said, is the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
"(Street Boss) was crowded on that turn and he got a little tired so (Flores) didn’t have enough room to switch him to the right lead," Headly explained. "He’s been winning on the left lead; if he would have switched to the right, I think he would have won by more."
Street Boss, a $300,000 Keeneland yearling purchase in September 2005, began his career with a maiden victory at Del Mar last September. That was his only win in four starts in 2007, but he has been nearly unbeatable this season with five wins and a second in six starts. He made his graded debut last time out with a one-length win in the six-furlong Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III). All of his races have been over synthetic surfaces.
Owned by Bluegate Corporation, Headley, and Naify, Street Boss has a record of 6-2-0 in 10 starts while banking $401,800. Bred by Brilliant Stable, Inc., the chestnut earned $180,000 for the Triple Bend victory.
He carried co-high weight of 119 pounds and paid $3.40, $2.40, and $2.10. Elite Squadron, a grade II winner trainer at Churchill Downs this spring trained by James Baker, returned $3.20 and $2.20 while completing a $2 exacta worth $12.60. Tropic Storm, coming off a runner-up finish in the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) for Craig Dollase, was $2.40 to show.