Ridden by red-hot Garrett Gomez, Spring House made a powerful move between horses coming off the final turn of the 1 1/2-mile event, engaged the leader Isipingo in the home stretch and gradually edged away under some urging for a 2 1/4-length victory in an excellent time of 2:24.13 on firm going.
Gomez is temporarily competing in Southern California.
“It’s good to be back home; it really is," he said. "I was able to bide my time early and then about the seven-eighths pole I was able to start moving up a bit. I was able to follow (Isipingo) and everything worked out.”
Julio Canani took over training duties on Spring House for owner R.D. Hubbard this year, and Spring House has thrived in four starts in Southern California. But victory had eluded the 5-year-old Chester House gelding while facing tougher company. He has had just one win since 2005.
“I wanted to run him a mile-and-a-half," Canani said. "He’s been training exceptionally well."
"I really want to thank Mr. Hubbard for sending me this horse," Canani added. "Every time I have dinner with him, it’s Christmas.”
Breaking from the inside post in the field of 10, Gomez was able to save ground while tracking a pedestrian pace from mid-pack. Spring House moved up along the inside before angling out a bit for the stretch run. Spring House seemed poised to surge past Isipingo, who had taken the lead from pacesetting Republican Hawk. Isipingo, with Aaron Gryder aboard, proved stubborn before Spring House took control leaving the eighth pole.
Isipingo held off the closing Runaway Dancer, ridden by Alex Solis, for second by a half-length.
Spring House was coming off back-to-back third-place finishes in a pair of grade II grass stakes -- Hollywood Park's Sunset Handicap and, most recently, the 11-furlong Del Mar Handicap Aug. 25. Spring House loves to run third and has done so 10 times in a 28-race career. He also has five wins and five seconds. Spring House, previously trained by John Hennig, earned $66,780 for the Burke win and has now banked $424,284.
Hubbard, Rio Claro Thoroughbreds Inc. and C. Sczesny bred Spring House in Kentucky. His dam is the Brazilian mare Spring Star, by Itajara.
The winner paid $5.80, $4, and $2.80. Isipingo, coming off a third-place finish in the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. IT) for trainer Craig Dollase, returned $5.20 and $3.20. The always-game 8-year-old gelding Runaway Dancer was $3.20 to show.
As expected, Republican Hawk ran off to an easy lead for the first half-mile with fractions of 25.01 and 48.03. Isipingo, who chased in third early, took the lead going into the second turn, and carved splits of 1:12.06 and 1:36.60 for the mile.
Atlando finished fourth, followed by Porfido, Niagara Causeway, Republican Hawk, Rush Rush, One Off and Caribbean.