Favored Singletary, urged on by jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. after taking command at the eighth pole, held off Captain Squire to win the $148,750 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) by three-quarters of a length at Bay Meadows Saturday.
The 7-10 choice in the field of seven, Singletary carried top weight of 119 pounds. Donald Chatlos Jr. trains the 4-year-old son of Sultry Song
–Joiski's Star (by Str de Naskra) for owner Little Red Feather Racing.
Captain Squire, ridden by Chance Rollins, appeared to be beaten after setting a solid pace of :23 1/5, :47 and 1:10 4/5, but fought on to make it close. Captain Squire finished two lengths in front of Gold Ruckus. The winning time was 1:35 on firm going.
"When I hit my horse, he responded," Valdivia said. "I was a little concerned when Captain Squire kept trying to come back, but my horse fought him off. That's what good horses do. Don has done a great job with this horse. It's a long year and hopefully he'll keep improving."
Chatlos said Singletary will be pointed for the $350,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park on May 31.
Valdivia used Singletary a bit to get a rail position going into the first turn from his extreme outside starting post. He continued to track the pace until swinging into contention on the final turn. Singletary caught Captain Squire in upper stretch as Gold Ruckus circled five wide from last to rally mildly for third, 1 1/4 length in front of Ninebanks. Sanderman, Laidlow and Motel Staff completed the order of finish.
Singletary, who won August's 1 1/16-mile La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Del Mar grass, was second, a half-length behind leading handicap turfer Sweet Return, in the Frank Kilroe 'Cap (gr. IIT) over a mile at Santa Anita March 6.
The ultra-consistent Kentucky-bred bay improved to 5-4-1 in 13 lifetime starts. He earned $82,500 to up his bankroll to $442,132.
Disler Farms Ltd. bred Singletary, a $3,200 yearling buy at Keeneland in October 2001. He was purchased as a 2-year-old for $20,000.
The winner paid $3.40, $2.20 and $2.10. Captain Squire, the second favorite, returned $2.60 and $2.10. Gold Ruckus, ridden by Russell Baze, was $2.80 to show. The $2 exacta was worth $8.20.
It was a good effort from Captain Squire.
"He was nice on the lead today," said Rollins. "As soon as we hit the backstretch, his ears flopped up and he went into a high cruise. When that horse came to us, this little guy really dug in. We came home good."
Ninebanks, the defending SF Mile champion, finished fourth while making his first start since Oct. 26.
"He may have needed one," said Ron Warren, Jr., Ninebanks' regular rider. "He gave me a good kick, but it wasn't his normal sustained kick. He kind of flattened out a bit."