Apalachian Thunder Rumbles at Santa Anita

Donald Dizney's homebred Apalachian Thunder defeated a promising field of 3-year-olds that included Atswhatimtalknbout and Listen Indy in Friday's $56,000 allowance feature at Santa Anita.

Sent off at 7-2 in the field of seven, the Florida-bred son of Wekiva Springs, ridden by Pat Valenzuela, jumped to the lead in the one-mile heat and was never headed in spite of pace pressure throughout, scoring a two-length triumph over Nation Wide News and jockey Corey Nakatani.

Atswhatimtalknbout, the 6-5 favorite Friday after turning heads with an impressive late rally to win his debut at Santa Anita Jan. 4, came running late once more, but settled for third, a half-length behind the runner-up. Listen Indy was fourth.

Fitted with blinkers for the first time by trainer Bob Baffert, Apalachian Thunder was coming off a second-place finish against allowance company Dec. 28. He skipped through early fractions of :22.71 for the opening quarter mile, :45.32 for the half and 1:09.60 for six furlongs. He repelled the challenge of Nation Wide News, who had stalked closely in second all the way, in the stretch and won handily in 1:36.08.

"(Baffert) put blinkers on him today and if he had done that last time, I'm pretty sure he would have won that race, too," Valenzuela said.

Atswhatimtalknbout, a $900,000 son of A.P. Indy owned by B. Wayne Hughes and trained by Ron Ellis, had a poor start, as he did in his maiden score, and was well off the early pace with jockey David Flores. He made a big move on the backstretch to get into position, but lost some ground on the turn for home before coming on again in the stretch to just miss second. It was his first start against winners and going two turns.

Golden Eagle Farm's Nation Wide News is another promising 3-year-old trained by David Hofmans.

Wertheimer Farm's Listen Indy, a son of A.P. Indy trained by Richard Mandella, was the 5-2 second choice. He defeated Apalachian Thunder by a length while breaking his maiden at Del Mar in September. He was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).

Apalachian Thunder paid $9.60, $4.80 and $3.20. Nation Wide News returned $5.40 and $4.20. Atswhatimtalknbout' show price was $2.80. The $2 exacta was $51.80.

(Chart, Equibase)