Soul City Slew comes home strong in the Potrero Grande.
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Soul City Slew comes home strong in the Potrero Grande.
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Soul City Slew 'Grande' at Santa Anita

Defeats favored Halo Najob by a half-length.

Soul City Slew, who had run for a $50,000 claiming tag in March, pulled off an upset in the $126,000 Potrero Grande Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) April 4 at Santa Anita Park, defeating favored Halo Najib by a half-length.

It was the first stakes win of any kind for Soul City Slew, who had shown flashes of promise previously when he had finished third in both the 2007 Pat O’Brien Handicap (gr. II) and the 2008 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II). He also had set track records at Hollywood Park of 1:27.58 for 7 1/2 furlongs in 2006 and 1:20.50 for seven furlongs in 2007.

“He’s a big, old, long-striding horse, and for an older horse, he’s really a good feeling horse,” said Soul City Slew’s trainer, Jack Carava. “He’s a fun horse to be around – easy to train. I’m more happy for him than I am for myself.”

Bred in Kentucky by Chris Young and Elizabeth DiBella, Soul City Slew races for La Canada Stables. He is a 6-year-old gelded son of Slew City Slew and the Lord Avie mare Sweet Soul.

“He’s just a cool horse --- a very, very, very nice horse,” Carava said. “Hopefully, he’ll continue to do it (win). He likes Hollywood Park, and the sprint division isn’t all that tough right now. Maybe we’ll just keep him down this path for now.”

Sent off at odds of 11-1 in the Potrero Grande, Soul City Slew was the second-longest shot in the field, behind only 15-1 Trumpet Player Jay in the seven-horse field. Ridden by Michael Baze, Soul City Slew raced in sixth early while Sea of Pleasure set early fractions of :21.58 for the first quarter mile and :43.96 for the half.

Running on the rail, Soul City Slew rallied in the stretch, grabbed the lead late, and held off Halo Najib, who had stalked the pace. The hard-charging Paul's Hope finished third, only a head behind Halo Najib. Rounding out the field were Davos, Six Pack Abs, Trumpet Player Jay, and Sea of Pleasure.

Soul City Slew covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.79 over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface while scoring his ninth victory in 36 career races. He had won his March 22 claiming race at Santa Anita by 1 3/4 lengths. That test also was 6 1/2 furlongs in length.

The Potrero Grande “went just the way we planned it,” Baze said. “He broke clean, and he loves to relax early. Every time I ride him, when I ask him, he just explodes. I know last time out it was for a tag, but Jack said he was doing super and acting really good. He ran the same way today that he did last time.”

Soul City Slew returned $25.00, $8.40, and $4.40 while Halo Najib paid $3.20 and $2.40. Paul’s Hope returned $4.80.

The winner carried 113 pounds while Paul’s Hope, Six Pack Abs, Trumpet Player Jay, and Sea of Pleasure each carried the top weight of 115.