Symphony Sid wins the Carleton F. Burke Handicap, Saturday at Santa Anita.

Symphony Sid wins the Carleton F. Burke Handicap, Saturday at Santa Anita.


Symphony Sid Orchestrates Burke Surprise

Symphony Sid turned Saturday's 38th running of Oak Tree's Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr.IIIT) into a laugher on the Santa Anita Park grass, bringing an eight-race losing streak to an end in stakes-record time.

The front-runner opened up a double-digit lengths lead quickly in the 1 1/2-mile event, then took full advantage of his 111-pound impost under Michael Baze to turn back a mild bid from 4-5 favorite Artiste Royal in the stretch and win by 5 1/2 lengths. The final time - 2:24.18 - eclipsed the 39-year-old stakes mark of 2:24.24 set by Dernier Empereur in 1996.

Symphony Sid provided 19-year-old Baze with his first Santa Anita stakes victory, as well as the first graded win of his career.

Claimed by Mike Mitchell for $50,000 from trainer Jerry Hollendorfer at Del Mar July 19, Symphony Sid won his first stakes race. He had been blanked since taking an optional allowance/claiming event at Bay Meadows in April 2005. The 6-year-old Unbridled horse ran fifth in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) in his first start for his new connections Aug. 27, then came back with a second-place showing after opening a nine-length edge in an allowance/claiming race at Oak Tree Sept. 27.

"I wanted him to get an early lead like he did and not press like in the previous race when he stopped a little bit," said Mitchell. "I knew he could rate and that the others would play catch up."

Baze - a cousin of Santa Anita jockey Tyler Baze (who won three races Saturday) and a second cousin to Hall of Famer Russell Baze – said the race played out as it had looked on paper.

"There was not even stalking speed," he said, "so I figured he'd get an easy lead and just relax and hopefully go on. I told (Mitchell),
'We're probably better off letting him go a little bit early, sprinting away from them, and then rate him home.' And that's what happened."

Breaking from the far outside in the field of seven, Baze hustled Symphony Sid to the front heading into the first turn and increased his sizeable advantage heading through the stretch for the first time and onto the backstretch, where he was at least 12 lengths in front. As they approached the final turn, Artiste Royal - carrying 118 pounds - began to pick up the pace for Patrick Valenzuela, and Symphony Sid appeared to be tiring. But when they reached the top of the stretch, Baze gave the chestnut a couple of cracks right-handed and Symphony Sid responded to win easily under steady urging.

Valenzuela said his hands were all but tied while aboard the favorite. "There was no pacesetter to go with the leader," he explained. "Everybody took back. I couldn't go rush him."

The fractions were lively for the distance - :23, :46, 1:10 1/5 and 1:34 4/5.

Symphony Sid improved his career record to 5-5-3 in 22 starts with earnings of $191,240. Bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish and O.M. Phipps, Symphony Sid is out of the A.P. Indy mare Happy Tune.

Bongo Racing Stable, Tighten 'Er Up Racing, and Tjosvold own the winner.

The third choice, Symphony Sid paid $12.80, $4.40, and $2.60, topping a $22.20 exacta with the prohibitive choice, Irish-bred Artiste Royal ($2.80, $2.10), who remained winless in six starts this year. The runner-up finished nearly two lengths in front of the Alex Solis-piloted Runaway Dancer ($2.40), who won the 2003 Carleton Burke.

Mighty Mysterious finished fourth, followed by Labirinto, Conall Cearnach, and Sarafan. Don Incauto scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)