Golden Rahy swung off the rail while striding out powerfully through the lane to collar the favorite Wild Buddy in the final strides and win the marathon $100,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Santa Anita turf course Sunday during the Oak Tree meeting.
The Bobby Frankel-trained 6-year-old Rahy
gelding responded to vigorous left-handed urging from jockey Alex Solis to prevail gamely by a neck in his stakes debut. He won in a time of 2:27 for the 12-furlong event on firm ground.
Wild Buddy, who got through along the hedge for Victor Espinoza to gain the advantage past the eighth pole, had to settle for second as the 17-10 choice in a field of six. He was a length better than the 5-year-old mare Stage Shy, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, who also led in the stretch after the pacesetting Courtly Jazz tired.
Courtly Jazz led the field for the first 10 furlongs, clipping off decent fractions of :24 4/5, :49 1/5, 1:13 1/5, 1:38 4/5 and 2:03 2/5 in the process. Courtly Jazz wound up fourth, followed by Star Pupil and At Dawn. Golden Rahy, in tight shortly after the start, was able to get to the inside while racing at the back of the pack. He moved up to fifth on the far turn.
"We saved all the ground, and I thought at about the quarter pole it was time to start making my move," Solis said. "At the three-sixteenth he came on really strong, and from there he got the job done. The horse really seemed to like the distance."
Solis said he was exhausted after getting back from New York's Breeders' Cup at 1 a.m.
The chestnut Golden Rahy earned $60,000 for the J.T. Alverez III Family Trust with his fourth win in 11 career starts. He has now earned $154,920. J.T. Alverez III was co-breeder of the gelding, who was produced by the Deputed Testamony mare Gold Fleece.
Golden Rahy won for the third time in four tries on the Santa Anita turf. He had been off since July 22 at Del Mar when second in a $40,000 claiming race at Del Mar.
The third choice, Golden Rahy paid $12, $5 and $2.60. Wild Buddy, coming off a fifth-place finish in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT), returned $3.20 and $2.20.
"First time to go that far, but he tried real hard to get there," Espinoza said of the 6-year-old gelding Wild Buddy, who was making his 46th career start, 39 on the grass. "In the last sixteenth I thought he was going to win it, but it's just one of those things. It's a shame to get beat like that when your horse runs so big."
Stage Shy, making her first start since August 2004, was $2.20 to show.
"She ran well considering she had 14 months off and had no training," trainer Neil Drysdale said. "She had some soundness issues but I liked the way she ran and she'll only improve."