Making his first start for trainer Michael Machowsky, Bedlam Bertie demolished his competition in Sunday’s $134,375 Sensational Star Handicap for California-breds at Santa Anita.
David Flores, winning his ninth stakes race of the 40-day-old meet, sent the 4-year-old gelding to the lead soon after the start of the 6 1/2-furlong event down the track’s hillside turf course. They were never seriously threatened after kicking away at the head of the stretch to prevail by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:13.
The 120-pound high weight Areyoutalkintome nosed out Red Warrior for the place, with Debonair Joe another nose back in fourth. Epic Power, the 7-5 favorite, finished fifth in the field of six.
It was the first stakes victory for the son of Game Plan who had been racing in Northern California prior to the beginning of the current Santa Anita meet Dec. 26. Bedlam Bertie carried 115 pounds.
Second choice in the wagering at odds of 5-2, Bedlam Bertie paid $7, $3.80 and $3.20. Areyoutalkintome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, returned $4 and $3. The show price on Red Warrior, handled by Agapito Delgadillo, was $3.80.
“It looked like there was no speed in the race, so I took my shot and put him on the lead,” Flores said after dismounting from the winner. “Nobody was able to go with him, and when we crossed the dirt (at the top of the stretch), I let him roll and he was plenty fresh. He ran great.”
Bedlam Bertie gained the largest purse, $80,625, of his 12-race career to elevate his earnings for owner Patricia C. Ford to $191,430 from a record of 4-2-1.
Machowsky said he acquired the chestnut gelding because the owner chose to continue racing him in Southern California. Bedlam Bertie had been trained by Northern California-based Bill Delia while making his first 11 starts, nine of them in the Bay Area.
“Although he’s a nervous, uptight horse, he trains great," Machowsky said. "I thought this horse would run big today. Bill Delia did a great job with him all along. I’m pretty much the sub-trainer.”