Trained by David Hofmans (who swept the stakes on the Saturday card including a win by Balance in the grade I Santa Margarita), Desert Code set a stakes record in the event’s 40th running while covering the about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:11.96. The clocking swept away the previous standard of 1:12.56 set by Buddy Gil in 2003.
Migliore kept the 4-5 favorite in the clear on the outside of the five-horse field as Desert Code rallied to defeat second choice Bitter Bill, with Martin Garcia aboard, by 1 3/4 lengths. It was another half-length back to third-place Vaunt and jockey Aaron Gryder.
Desert Code, who carried 117 pounds compared to his opponents’ 114, paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10. The mutuels on Bitter Bill were $3.80 and $2.40 while the show price on Vaunt was $2.40. Pacesetting Newsworthy, who clicked off fast fractions of :21 and :43, and Spanish Influence trailed the compact field.
It was the third win in six starts for the Kentucky-bred son of E Dubaiwho is owned by Susan Osborne of Glendale, Calif., who races as Tarabilla Farms, Inc.. The winning purse of $63,960 elevated his earnings to $132,650. Desert Code has won both of his starts on the hillside turf course handily after defeating allowance foes by two lengths in last start Feb. 18.
“This is really a neat horse,” Migliore said. “He’s an athlete, and he’s made for that hill.”
Added Hofmans, "This horse is the coolest horse. Nothing seems to bother him. The dirt course here is a little hard for him, but the Cushion Track (at Hollywood Park) really helped this horse develop the way he has. I think he found a home on this turf course.”