Bluesthestandard made a noteworthy return to action Sunday with a one-length victory over Marino Marini in the $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) for older sprinters at Santa Anita Park.
Ridden by Mike Smith at 117 pounds for trainer Ted H. West and owner Jeffrey Sangara, Bluesthestandard ran six furlongs in 1:08 and paid $5.60, $3 and $2.20 as the betting favorite
The Palos Verdes was the first race for Bluesthestandard since a second place finish in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.
Bluesthestandard raced for a $10,000 claiming price three times early in his career, and was claimed by his current connections for $50,000 on Dec. 31, 2002. Since then he has won five of 11 starts for $721,975. He earned $90,000 for the Palos Verdes triumph. The 7-year-old American Standard gelding has won 15 of 28 overall with earnings of $897,185.
Marino Marini, with Tyler Baze riding at 115 pounds, was easily second best and returned $4.40 and $2.80.
It was four lengths back to Our New Recruit, Emile Ramsammy aboard at 114 pounds, and a $3.80 show payoff. Boston Common, Captain Squire, Tough Game and Giovannetti completed the order of finish. Summer Service was scratched earlier in the day.
Bluesthestandard broke sharply from the far outside, settled into fourth place on the backstretch as Giovannetti and Marino Marini dueled for the lead through fractions of :21 and :43 2/5. The winner advanced three-wide on the turn and engaged Marino Marini entering the stretch.
From there, Bluesthestandard and Marino Marini hooked up in a spirited two-horse race for the wire, with the latter gradually edging clear in the final yards.
"It was a picture-perfect race," Smith said. "I was a little worried being his first race back, that he would be a little hot and sweaty, but he was just so cool and calm. He broke well, and when I called on him to head for home he just sprinted past the competition. I pretty much had him in hand the last part. He was just looking at the grandstand like he owned the place."
West said Bluesthestandard would be pointed to the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs on March 7.
"Mike Smith said he even felt better all over and stronger than he did last year," the trainer said. "He thinks he's a better horse this year, too, so we've got a long campaign ahead of us and this is a good way to start it."