Overbrook Farm's Snow Ridge skipped over a wet-fast track at Santa Anita Sunday to upset heavily favored Squirtle Squirt in the $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II). Under Mike Smith, Snow Ridge ran the six furlongs 1:07.70.
Snow Ridge sprinted to the lead leaving the gate with Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Squirtle Squirt in close attendance. After a :21.13 opening quarter mile and a :43.31 half, Snow Ridge and Squirtle Squirt remained one-two, before Snow Ridge surged clear in the stretch to easily defeat the 4-5 favorite, winning by four lengths.
"He really took to the (off) track very well, he seemed to relish it," said Smith. "What's amazing about this horse is when he gets on to his left lead. He's unbelievable on that side for some reason. When he's on his left lead, he's just like a little rat running around a barrel. That's when he put the distance on the field today ... and his right lead wasn't too bad either. He's just a nice horse."
Squirtle Squirt held second from a fast-closing Ceeband, who finished third, a half-length farther back. Men's Exclusive, Explicit, Beaumes de Venise, and Silky Sweep completed the order of finish.
A chestnut son of Tabasco Cat, Snow Ridge earned $90,000 for his eighth win in 17 career starts. The win marks his second straight in a Santa Anita stakes race, having previously won the 5 1/2-furlong El Conejo Handicap (gr. III).
"Mike (Smith) has good chemistry with him," said Lukas. "I entered this horse in the Breeders' Cup, he just didn't get in. I brought him out here because I thought he might have a good winter out here, but the whole object, of course, is to keep him going. He'll gain a little respect off of this win. The time might not be realistic seeing as how it was firm underneath, but they all had to run over the same track."
Snow Ridge returned $19, $5.60, and $3.40. Squirtle Squirt paid $3 and $2.10 and Ceeband $2.40. The $1 exacta paid $24.70.
Four-year-old Snow Ridge is out of the Woodman mare Snow Forest and was bred by Mt. Brilliant Farm LLC. Last year, he upset City Zip in the Kentucky Cup Sprint Stakes (gr. II) and won four allowance races. (Chart, Equibase