Favored Supah Blitz won the $106,000 Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) for older horses Saturday at Santa Anita Park, giving trainer Doug O'Neill his ninth stakes win of the meet and record 49th overall win.
O'Neill won three stakes in the span of an hour Saturday as horses from his stable also took the $250,000 WinStar Oaks and the $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico. He broke the record for wins by a trainer at Santa Anita last Sunday with his 48th victory.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, who won three races on Saturday including both of the day's stakes, Supah Blitz stalked just behind leader Ender's Shadow for most of the race. He took the lead in the middle of the second turn and pulled away with ease down the stretch for a three-length victory. It was Supah Blitz's first victory since November after failing to finish in the money in his last three starts. O'Neill decided to put blinkers on the horse at Espinoza's urging after an 11th-place finish in the March 5 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). "When I rode him in the big race last time he came out of the gate and as soon as some other horses came in front of me he put on the brakes right there and then he dropped too far back," said Espinoza. "He did that a few other races so I told Doug 'I think we need to put blinkers on him and put him right on the lead or maybe near the lead.' So that worked out well. Sometimes it works."
The winner covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.90 and paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.20. Outta Here got up for second under Kent Desormeaux and paid $3.80 and $2.40. Ender's Shadow, ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., paid $2.40 to show. Skukuza and That's an Outrage completed the order of finish.
Supah Blitz is a Florida-bred son of Mecke owned by Black Saddle Stable, which is run by Tom Kagele of Glendora. The 5-year-old horse has won seven times in 36 starts. He earned $63,600 Saturday, making his career total $1,084,210.
The Tokyo City was known as the San Bernardino Handicap prior to this year.Earlier, Bob Baffert-trained No Bull Baby beat stablemate Inspiring in the $86,250 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. No Bull Baby ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.79 and returned $8.60, $4.20 and $2.20. (Chart, Equibase)