Returning to the scene of his lone United States victory, lightly raced Lundy's Liability registered a smart win over Truly a Judge in the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park Sunday.
The slight favorite in the field of nine, the Brazilian-bred 5-year-old Lundy's Liability ranged up along the inside of the pacesetting Truly a Judge at the head of the stretch for jockey David Flores. After dueling through the lane, Lundy's Liability pulled away in the final sixteenth for a 1 1/2-length triumph. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile event, a major prep race for next month's Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), was 1:49. The race was contested on a fast track in spite of a steady shower.
The Bobby Frankel-trained Lundy's Liability won the rich United Arab Emirates Derby (UAE-II) in March. After more than six months on the sidelines, the son of Candy Stripes captured the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in his U.S. debut at Santa Anita Oct. 2, following that effort with a fading sixth-place finish after setting the pace in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 26, his last start.
It was Frankel's 109th stakes victory at Santa Anita, putting him second on the all-time list.
Flores placed Lundy's Liability in a perfect tracking position behind Truly a Judge, who was ridden by Martin Pedroza, and Total Impact on the outside as they clipped through fractions of :23 1/5, :47 and 1:11. Truly a Judge raced slightly off the rail, which gave Lundy's Liability an opportunity to slip through along the inside in upper stretch. The two engaged in a spirited battle before Lundy's Liability wore down his rival under only slight urging from Flores.
"He picked it up really good at the quarter pole. On the middle of the turn I just put him in there (on the rail) and he just went on," Flores said.
San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) winner Congrats, who was in stalking position throughout, finished up nicely to get third with Tyler Baze aboard. Skukuza, making his stakes debut for trainer John Sadler, finished fourth as Total Impact faded out of contention.
Lundy's Liability earned $150,000 for owners Mary Slack of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Goncalo Torrealba's TNT Stud of Rio de Janeiro, who also bred him. With his fifth win in eight lifetime starts, Lundy's Liability's bankroll now stands at $1,703,930.
He paid $8.20, $4.60 and $3.40. Truly a Judge, who was seeking his third consecutive victory in a graded stakes race and his fourth straight win overall, returned $4.20 and $3 and completed a $32.80 exacta. Congrats, who recently moved to the barn of red-hot Richard Mandella, was $3.40 to show.
After Skukuza came Total Impact, Asong for Billy, Star Cross, and Epicentre. Outsider Go Bob pulled up lame on the first turn and was vanned off. Castledale, who ran fifth in Saturday's Strub Stakes (gr. II), and Outta Here were scratched.