Snow Ridge swept past two-time defending champion Freespool turning for home and drew clear for a 3 1/2-length victory Sunday in the $109,500 El Conejo Handicap at Santa Anita Park.Ridden by Mike Smith at 114 pounds, Snow Ridge ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.05 on a fast main track and paid $39.20, $13.60 and $8.60. Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, recording his 100th stakes win at Santa Anita Park, is the trainer for owner/breeder Overbrook Farm.Explicit, Kent Desormeaux riding at 117 pounds, finished second and returned $6.80 and $5. It was a nose back to Rio Oro, Corey Nakatani riding at 117 pounds, and a $4 show payoff.Gibson County, Kinetic Bend, Unbridled Time, Freespool and Misanello completed the order of finish. Cee Band and Stormy Jack were scratched earlier in the day.A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Tabasco Cat, Snow Ridge has a 7-3-1 record from 16 starts; the $65,700 winner's share upped his earnings to $377,699.Snow Ridge stalked Freespool through a half-mile in :43.99, forged to the lead entering the stretch, quickly drew clear and wasn't threatened in the run to the wire.Desormeaux alleged that Snow Ridge bothered Explicit shortly after the start of the race, but the stewards made no change in the order of finish.Lukas became only the second trainer in track history to saddle 100 stakes winners, joining the late Charlie Whittingham, who had 204 stakes wins at Santa Anita.
"I told Mike (Smith) if he laid one, two or three that he would have a great chance because this horse has got a nice kick off the turn," Lukas said.There were no winning tickets in the Pick Six and the carryover to Wednesday is $137,950. First post is 12:30 p.m.(Chart, Equibase)