White Spar, the 2-5 choice in a field of six sophomores all trying the one-mile distance for the first time, set a fast early pace and began to tire before reaching the quarter pole. He wound up fourth. The Rattlesnake leads into the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby on Feb. 9.
Teamed for the first time with jockey Glenn Corbett, Ez Dreamer overcame a lunging start and a wide trip on the final turn before taking over in the homestretch.
Trained by Kory Owens, the colt by In Excess--French Debutante, by French Deputy, gained his third victory in six starts. The bay colt is yet to finish out of the money.
Ez Dreamer broke outwardly from his far outside post and fell into a stalking position on the outside as White Spar, winner of the Arizona Breeders Futurity six weeks ago, clicked off an opening quarter mile of :22.73. But after getting a breather down the backstretch from jockey Sandi Gann -- completing the half-mile in :46.17 -- White Spar was under pressure from Stormy Highland and Ez Dreamer on the final turn.
They went six furlongs in 1:10.53 as Stormy Highland and Wilson Dieguez gained a narrow lead leaving the quarter pole. Stormy Highland was willing but over-matched in the lane by Ez Dreamer, who reached the furlong pole two lengths in front and widened from there. The final time was 1:36.60.
Ez Dreamer has met White Spar four times, with each side winning two. In his most recent start, Ez Dreamer finished third, nearly six lengths behind the runner-up White Spar, in the 6 1/2-furlong Lost in the Fog Juvenile at Turf Paradise Dec. 29. Ez Dreamer has earned $76,957 in his career.
The winner carried 115 pounds, eight fewer than topweight White Spar, and paid $8.40, $4.60, and $6.20. The 37-1 shot Stormy Highland ($19, $15.60) finished second, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Campeone ($7), who rallied mildly for third under Daniel Vergara.
White Spar, Dunlap, and Sharp Sounds completed the order.