Toasted Burns Favorites in La Puente

(from Santa Anita report)
Toasted found room between horses and burst through in deep stretch to register a 25-1 upset in the $110,500 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds on the grass Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

Ridden by Goncalino Almeida at 114 pounds, Toasted ran one mile on firm turf in a stakes record 1:34.18 and paid $53.20, $15 and $7.20. Laura de Seroux is the trainer for Sidney Port of Chicago.

Due mainly to Toasted's victory and a 40-1 stunner by Cinematic in the 10th race, the Pick Six went unclaimed for a second straight day. The carryover to Sunday is $578,231.

Toasted had raced just once in the United States, finishing eighth in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) on dirt on March 14. The Kentucky-bred by Hennessy had two wins from four starts in France last year, and the return to turf for the La Puente did the trick.

Last as the field entered the far turn, Toasted remained inside while gathering momentum, came off the rail slightly into the stretch and responded boldly to Almeida's urging. She reeled in Seattle Borders in the final sixteenth, and then held off Erewhon. The winning margin was 1 ΒΌ lengths.

It was only the third winner of the meet for Almeida, and the first stakes triumph for de Seroux since Azeri captured the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar August 10.

Erewhon, the 2-1 second choice ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr. at 116 pounds, gained second place and returned $3.60 and $2.80. Seattle Borders, Matt Garcia aboard at 116 pounds, finished third and paid $3.40.

Terroplane, the slight betting choice at 2-1, finished fourth, and was followed by Tricky Flash Flood, Four Song Limit, Gwaihir, Trois Villes and Moulin de Mougins.

Toasted is 3-0-2 from six starts overall with earnings of $106,791. The La Puente triumph was worth $66,300.

The winning time bettered the stakes mark of 1:34.19 set by Purely Cozzene in 2000.

De Seroux said the switch to turf was the key.

"He's got a dirt pedigree but he's a turf horse," she said of Toasted. "We'll stay on the grass with him."

(Chart, Equibase)