A couple of hours after Santa Anita honored trainer Noble Threewitt on the occasion of his 90th birthday, 79-year-young Warren Stute provided the icing on the cake when he captured the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) Feb. 24 as Go Go punched by the favored La Feminn. Go Go, by Falstaff out of the Plugged Nickle mare Key Mist, was bred in California by Chris Ray, and six of her previous seven starts had been against restricted company from the Golden State. Despite entering the Las Flores gate with the portfolio of a three-race winning streak, Go Go was dispatched at nearly 7-1 because of the presence of Richard Mandella's La Feminn, who was undefeated in five lifetime starts and sent away at 3-5. "I hoped all day that Mandella's horse would scratch," joked Stute in the winner's circle. A steady rain produced a track labeled 'wet-fast,' and in fact times all day were on the swift side. Following a pair of defections, a field of six contested the 49th running of the $134,000 Las Flores for fillies and mares. They broke in a line before Gary Stevens ascended to the early lead aboard Squall City. La Feminn, who had rarely been off the lead at any call in her races, rushed up along on her outside under Alex Solis, and the pair pushed each other through a quarter in a swift :21.15 and a half in :43.67. Go Go, under the master of the come-from-behind Eddie Delahoussaye, had a front-row seat for the duel, sitting third two lengths off the leaders. La Feminn put away Squall City off the curve and ran a winning race but for the presence of Go Go, who was only too ready to cruise down the stretch. Three taps on the flank from Eddie D. and Go Go was gone, besting the favorite by a convincing length. Cover Gal was along for third. Go Go is owned by Thomas and Thomas Racing, that being Paula and Alan Thomas and their son Roger from nearby Costa Mesa. The Thomases owned Quarter Horses until all of them were claimed away, and now have three horses with Stute. The winning trainer was giving credit to everyone except himself following the victory. "Ninety percent of the credit goes to Eddie D., and the other 10% goes to the owners, who left me alone," Stute said. "This win is more special because it was Noble's day. He's a very special, great man, and people don't appreciate how he's fought for the backstretch workers for years and years. But we had a party for him at the Palms restaurant in Pasadena last week and 400 people came and others had to be turned away." Delahoussaye, meanwhile, wore a smile as big as the track as he circled the winner's circle. Every inch of his face below where his goggles sat was covered with mud. "She made a left leaving the gate and I thought she was going straight into the rail," the winning rider said. "But she wasn't rank after that--she relaxed good and finished great. She won from off the pace at Hollywood when I last rode her, so I knew not to mess with her." Delahoussaye was enjoying his third win in the Las Flores, having booted home Baroness Direct in 1986 and Stormy But Valid in 1990.
Go Go, who won the Las Flores receiving four pounds from the favorite, earned $80,400, pushing her lifetime earnings to $246,520. Both Stute and Mandella said their charges came out of the race fine, and both are pointing toward the $100,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes for state-breds coming down the hill March 17, although both held out the option of testing open company once again. Continued. . . .(Chart, Equibase)