Monterey Jazz hit all the right notes on Dec. 26, opening day at Santa Anita Park, by going nearly gate to wire to win the $122,100 Sir Beaufort (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) in his stakes debut.
David Flores picked up his fourth win of the day aboard Monterey Jazz, who bettered 12 rivals in the one-mile grass test for 3-year-olds.
Monterey Jazz reached the front shortly after the start and got away with moderate fractions (:22.81, :46.32 and 1:09.83) while maintaining a lead of more than one length. He was well clear in the stretch when back markers Mr Napper Tandy and Twilight Meteor came to challenge late. Monterey Jazz won by a measured length. Mr Napper Tandy, ridden by Mike Smith, nosed Twilight Meteor and Garrett Gomez for second. The final time was 1:34.36 on firm going.
“It looked like we were the speed in the race," Flores said. "I tried to clear early and get him to relax. I was really happy with the way he was running to the far turn, he was into a tight hold and he was happy.”
The Irish-bred Whatsthescript, favored at 5-2 in his first start since May 4, prompted the pace for six furlongs before fading to last in the stretch.
Craig Dollase trains Monterey Jazz, a Kentucky-bred colt by Thunderello--Reefside (by Dynaformer), for owners A & R Stables and Class Racing Stable. The colt won a one-mile allowance/claiming optional race on the Hollywood Park lawn by 2 1/4 lengths Nov. 10 and has now captured three of his past four starts. Overall, he has four victories from 10 starts. The winning share of $73,260 increased Monterey Jazz's earnings to $167,740.
“He really handled his first stakes assignment well," Dollase noted. "We found something out about him the other day at Hollywood when he went a mile. He hit all the fractions that day, and it wasn’t a fluke, obviously. He did it again today. It was nice. We’re hoping for bigger and better things down the road.”
Danzel Brendemuehl bred the dark bay, which she sold as a 2-year-old for $85,000 in 2006 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales' April sale.
Sent off as the third choice, Monterey Jazz paid $12.80, $7.80 and $4.80. The British-bred Mr Napper Tandy, making his third U.S. start for trainer Jack Carava, returned $11.20 and $6.40 and completed a $2 exacta worth $150.60. Twilight Meteor, who could have given trainer Todd Pletcher his record-tying 57th graded stakes win of 2007, was $3.80 to show as the second favorite.
It was three-quarters of a length to fourth-place finisher Bad Boy, who was followed by Mast Track, Rutledge Cat, Stoneside, Adagio, Warning Zone, No Dream, Silent Soul, Wing Forward and Whatsthescript.