Going Wild led from start to finish and notched a one-length victory over Papa Chullo in the $100,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Victor Espinoza was aboard the winner for trainer D. Wayne Lukas and owners Bob and Beverly Lewis of Newport Beach.
Going Wild, a double stakes winner at the meet, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.18 and paid $12.20, $8 and $4.20. The Kentucky-bred by Golden Missile, who sold for $600,000 at Fasig-Tipton last year, had never raced beyond seven furlongs in five previous starts. But he was able to control the pace in the Sham while setting fractions of :23.03, :46.82, 1:10.68 and 1:36.39, and held off a host of tiring challengers in the stretch.
"Wayne told me to see what happens, wherever you are just don't fight him too much and he'll run big this time," Espinoza said. "I had to ride him a little hard at the end, but when I ride Wayne's horses I'm not afraid to let them run even a half-mile out."
Papi Chullo, Patrick Valenzuela riding, rallied to finish second and paid $12.60 and $5.40. It was a neck back to Giacomo, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Mike Smith, and a $2.40 show payoff.
Uncle Denny, Chekhov, Salty Humor, Southern Africa, Cadillac Cruiser, and Devil's Bay completed the order of finish. General John B and Iced Out were scratched.
Lukas, fourth all-time in Santa Anita stakes wins with 105, said Going Wild would be pointed to the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) on March 5. That 1 1/16-mile race is scheduled to mark the 2005 debut of Declan's Moon, the champion male 2 year-old of 2004. Lukas said Going Wild's lineage, out of the Strawberry Road mare Pola, is suited to longer distances.
"His pedigree does not dictate six, seven furlongs," the trainer said. "It's full of distance horses, a mile and a half, a mile and a quarter horses, so we might have a talented horse here that can get the two turns. He should be able to build off that and get better."
Going Wild, who won the San Miguel in his last, has a 3-2-1 mark from six starts, and is unbeaten in three races at the winter/spring meet. The $61,380 winner's share pushed his earnings to $172,420.