When jockey Chris McCarron booted home Seinne a half-length winner in the $150,000 Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT), he became the first rider in Santa Anita Park history to ride three graded stakes winner on the same card. Previously on the day, McCarron was in the irons for graded stakes wins in the San Bernardino Handicap (gr. II) and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on a pair of Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan homebreds trained by Paco Gonzalez.
But it wasn't an easy day's work for McCarron. In the San Bernardino, McCarron experienced trouble as the gate opened.
"I blew my right stirrup right out of the gate, I didn't want to fix it because I thought it would distract him, and he wouldn't be focused enough to get to the lead," McCarron said of eventual winner Bosque Redondo. "I wanted him on the lead, so I popped him on the shoulder, and once I secured the lead, I fixed my stirrup. I went about a sixteenth of a mile without it."
Then in the stretch, McCarron was surprised by the inside run of Mysterious Cat.
"I was confident I was going to hold off Freedom Crest," McCarron said. "Quite frankly, I was surprised that Mysterious Cat came on my inside, because I gave a peek just before I straightened out, and I didn't see a horse. I was honestly caught by surprise by that. But it was of no consequence because this horse was game enough to hold them both off. He loves it here at Santa Anita, he runs exceptionally well on this track. He gives me a tremendous amount of confidence -- when it comes down to a dogfight, he's there every time."
The win marks the sixth time McCarron has won the race and the fourth time for McCaffery, Toffan, and Gonzalez, who previously sent out Del Mar Dennis to win the race three straight times (1994-96).
The win marks the second straight for Bosque Redondo and his second stakes win. Last time out, he won the Tokyo City Handicap by a head over Reba's Gold, the same margin of victory from the San Bernardino.
Mysterious Cat finished second, a length ahead of Freedom Crest, with Agol Lack fourth, Last Parade fifth, and Hook Call last of six.
Bosque Redondo (Mane Minister -- Pima, by Cox's Ridge) earned $90,000 for the win his sixth in 13 career starts. The 6-5 favorite Bosque Redondo paid $4.40 for the win and topped a $22.20 exacta.
In the Arcadia, Seinne and McCarron were passed by 8-5 favorite Irish Prize as that rival rallied from last place to take the lead in the stretch before Seinne uncorked a winning run.
"At the five-sixteenths pole, I thought I was dead," McCarron said. "And when Irish Prize went by me, I thought I was really dead. I was asking my horse to go before Irish Prize came to me, and mine didn't quicken right away. Irish Prize kind of got the jump on me, and made me wait a little bit -- I was waiting, I thought, without much horse. But, he fooled me."
Seinne completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.16 on firm turf.
"The horse ran super," said Dan Landers, assistant to trainer Ron McAnally, who was in Arkansas to saddle Affluent in the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I). "I think he likes the grass better than the dirt. I guess it shows that by the way he ran today. (Chris) McCarron is as hot as can be."
Irish Prize finished second, a length ahead of Kerrygold. Night Patrol finished fourth, followed by Sumitas, Sumati, El Gran Papa, Sligo Bay, and Homeland.
Seinne, a nearly 13-1 choice, returned $27.60 for the win. The exacta completed by the favorite paid $106.20.
Nelson Bunker Hunt's Seinne (Hussonet -- White Lady, by Worldwatch) earned $90,000 for the win, his seventh in 18 starts. The two-time group II winner on Chilean turf raced unsuccessfully on the main track this winter, finishing ninth last time out in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), before returning to the turf course for Saturday's win.
"The horse ran super," said Dan Landers, assistant to trainer Ron McAnally, who was in Arkansas to saddle Affluent in the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I). "I think he likes the grass better than the dirt. I guess it shows that by the way he ran today."
Then he stated the obvious. "(Chris) McCarron is as hot as can be." (Charts, Equibase