Two-thirds of Ambitious Brew's victories entering racing Sept. 30 came on Santa Anita Park's unique downhill turf course and the Pamela Ziebarth homebred thrived again during the trip Friday in the first of two Eddie D. Stakes (gr. IIIT) divisions.
The 6-year-old Tizbud gelding trained by Marty Jones tracked the early leaders in fourth under jockey Mike Smith and surged by Richard's Boy in the stretch to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
Justin Squared set fractions of :21.79 and :43.86 through a half-mile, and Ambitious Brew hit the wire in 1:11.57 for about 6 1/2 furlongs. An allowance optional claiming race earlier in the card also had a swift finishing time at 1:11.96 on the new Santa Anita turf course.
"I was in a great spot from the word 'go' and able to get to the outside smoothly without losing any ground," Smith said. "I've been blessed to ride him a lot and win on him a few times, but I have to say this was his best race, by far.
"If I can get him to do that coming down the hill in the Breeders' Cup (Turf Sprint, gr. IT), that would be awesome."
The win was Ambitious Brew's fifth from nine starts down the hillside course, including his last victory May 28 in the Lennyfromalibu Stakes for California-breds.
"He loves the hill and he trains like it," Jones said. "We know he's good and he's a professional. I was a little nervous in the stretch, but Mike had him in a great spot."
Richard's Boy finished a length clear of second choice Hunt. Eleven-time stakes winner and 3-2 favorite Lady Shipman finished a nonthreatening sixth, 6 1/4 lengths behind the winner, after she broke from the trying post 1.
The winner paid $13.20, $5.40, and $4.20 across the board. Richard's Boy delivered $6.40 and $4.40, and Hunt brought $2.40.
Ambitious Brew, out of the Forest Wildcat mare Kathwen, has seven wins and seven seconds from 20 starts, and $499,225 in earnings.
Class Racing Stable's Holy Lute ($23.40) took the second division by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:11.23 to close out the nine-race opening-day card. It was the 6-year-old Midnight Lute horse's first graded stakes win.