The flashy Too Much Bling may not have the sort of stamina needed for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but the gray colt showed plenty of quality in winning the San Vicente (gr. II) at seven furlongs Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
Hooked up with Totally Gone through blazing fractions of :21 3/5 and :43 4/5, Too Much Bling, an Ohio-bred son of Rubiano, turned back Peace Chant in mid-stretch and went on to win in a driving finish by 1 1/2 lengths for jockey Garrett Gomez. The winning time was a solid 1:22 2/5.
"P. Val's horse (Totally Gone) was really pressuring and got (Too Much Bling) running early," winning trainer Bob Baffert said afterward. "But Too Much Bling showed his real quality by going on. He's turned out to be tremendous. If he could have gone slower, he probably would have won by more. He reminds me of his sire, Rubiano. It's exciting to have a horse like that."
Baffert won the San Vicente for the fifth time in the past 10 years.
Stonerside Stable and Blazing Meadows Farm's Too Much Bling was sent off at odds of 3-5 in the field of eight, paying $3.60, $2.60, and $2.20 for his first graded stakes win.
Peace Chant, a son of War Chant
out of the 1990 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Safely Kept, saved ground for Edgar Prado into the stretch when he rallied on the outside of the winner. He drew to within a length of Too Much Bling in mid-stretch after going six furlongs in 1:08 4/5, but the favorite spurted away. Peace Chant was coming on again at the finish, though. He returned $3.80 and $2.80 as the second choice.
Gomez said he was worried about the challenge from Peace Chant.
"I was a little concerned because I knew we went pretty quick," Gomez said. "That's not the way I wanted the race to set up but, when you're on the class, you've got to do what you've got to do. He put those horses away after about a half a mile.
"He did enough to get it done and, for the circumstances and the way he had to do it today, I think he ran a really good race."
It was 3 3/4 lengths back to third-place finisher New Joysey Jeff and Alex Solis. Then came Changing Weather, Bound to Be M V P, Sinister Minister, Sailors Sunset, and Totally Gone.
Too Much Bling, coming off a four-length win in the six-furlong San Miguel Jan. 8 when teamed with Gomez for the first time, has now posted three victories in seven starts while increasing his earnings to $192,674. He clocked 1:08 2/5 in the San Miguel.
Too Much Bling finished up the track to First Samurai a couple of times as a 2-year-old after setting the pace in each race. He finished third in the seven-furlong Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 27 and fifth in the one mile Champagne (gr. I) on a sloppy sealed track at Belmont Park Oct. 8. Too Much Bling ran sixth as the favorite in the one-mile Nashua (gr. III) in his final start last year.
The winning owners are Timothy Ham of Warren, Ohio, who races as Blazing Meadows Farm, LLC, and Robert and Janice McNair from Paris, Ky., who race as Stonerside Stable. Destiny Farm LLC bred Too Much Bling, who is out of Rose Colored Lady, by Formal Dinner.