It was the second win in six starts for the 3-year-old Formal Gold colt, who had just broke his maiden less than a month before at Santa Anita. The Robert Hess Jr. trainee completed the 1 1/6-miles on the dirt in 1:42.81.
Ez Dreamer, entering off a 9 ¾-length score in the Jan. 20 Rattlesnake Stakes, finished second as the 7-5 favorite, 3 ½ lengths in front of Meer Kat, who rallied from last to get third. Storm of Honor was fourth in the eight-horse field.
Nikki’sgoldensteed, bred in California by Jack Murphy, won for the first time on a natural dirt surface. Jon Court was in the irons.
Storm of Honor set the pace, posting fractions of :23.31 and :46.57. Stormy Highland and Nikki’sgoldensteed, racing comfortably four-wide, were not far back as they moved around the turn.
Coming out of the final turn, Nikki’sgoldensteed was moving best and grabbed a short lead. More than a length in front at the top of the stretch, he was suddenly challenged by Ez Dreamer, who was being guided by Glenn Corbett.
But just after Ez Dreamer briefly made the lead, Nikki’sgoldensteed responded with authority, hitting another gear and then drawing away from the field.
The 5-2 third choice, Nikki’sgoldensteed paid $7, $3.20, and $2.40. The exacta (7-5) was worth $18.80.
Nikki’sgoldensteed is out of the Tank’s Promise mare Dawn of Promise. He was off the board in his first two starts and then took second and third, respectively, in a pair of California maiden special weight events before getting his first victory Dec. 21 on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track.
Owned by Matthew Lomas and Gary Spencer, he was a $15,000 purchase at the Barretts Equine Limited October 2006 yearling sale.