Espinoza Completes Sweep With Puerto Banus
Updated: Thursday, February 19, 2004 9:42 AM
Edited from track reports
Posted: Monday, February 16, 2004 8:55 PM
Jockey Victor Espinoza completed a sweep of the President's Day stakes doubleheader at Santa Anita when he guided Puerto Banus through heavy traffic in the stretch for a neck victory in the grade II, $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap. Less than one length separated the top five finishers in the turf marathon.
Puerto Banus, the second choice in the wagering, ran 1-½ miles in 2:28 on a firm course and paid $9.80, $5.60 and $4. The winner carried 115 pounds en route to his second graded score at the 12-furlong distance. Kristin Mulhall is the trainer for Steve Taub of Santa Monica, Michael Mulhall of Bradbury and Neil Papiano of Los Angeles.
"That's the way this horse likes to run, just sit back and make one strong run," Espinoza said of Puerto Banus. "For a minute it looked a little bit tight, but when you have a better horse than everybody else you're not afraid to let it go through a tight hole."
Continuously, the 3-1 favorite ridden by Kent Desormeaux at 116 pounds, rallied to finish second and paid $4.20 and $2.80. It was a head back to Continental Red, Corey Nakatani aboard at 117 pounds, and a $5.40 show payoff.
Meteor Storm, Labirinto, Fairly Ransom, Runaway Dancer, Researched, Bourbon County, Gene de Campeao, Senor Swinger and Adminniestrator completed the order of finish.
Puerto Banus has three wins in six starts for Mulhall, including a victory in the Sunset Handicap. (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park last summer. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred by Supremo, Puerto Banus earned $120,000 to increase his bankroll to $370,410. The chestnut has won five of 16 career starts.
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