The last few races for What a View hadn't been all that encouraging entering the $100,000 American Stakes (G3T) April 21, but the grade 1 winner from two years ago flashed his talent again at Santa Anita Park.
As he is apt to do, the 7-year-old Vronsky gelding went to the front early in the one-mile American, set a moderate pace, and just held off a late closing drive from Colonist to secure his first graded victory since the 2016 Thunder Road Stakes (G3T).
"From everything he'd been showing me, I thought he'd run his race today," winning trainer Kenny Black said of What a View, who hadn't hit the board in three starts prior, albeit against tougher competition. "When you look at all of his good races—when he's able to go in :46 and change, (1:10) and change, he runs his best."
The pace was favorable Saturday under first-time jockey Stewart Elliott (regular rider Tyler Baze was in Kentucky to ride Itsinthepost in the grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes), and the pair cruised through fractions of :23.13, :46.42, and 1:10.08. What a View had a 1 1/2-length advantage at the quarter pole and maintained it for another furlong until Colonist made his late rush. What a View hit the wire in 1:33.80, a neck in front of his rival.
"He broke great, and he made an easy lead," Elliott said. "He was comfortable, and he took care of business. I thought (Sawyer's Hill) would show speed, (but) I didn't see him around. It worked out good."
Sawyer's Hill stalked the pace wide in third early on and tired harshly to finish last in the seven-horse field. Favored Blackjackcat—who also failed to place as the favorite in the Feb. 10 Thunder Road, his 2018 debut after three stakes wins in 2017—also stalked the pace in second but was passed in the stretch by Colonist and third-place finisher Kenjisstorm. Blackjackcat finished fourth, followed by Ritzy A.P., Mr. Roary, and Sawyer's Hill to complete the order of finish.
It was the third graded stakes win for the California-bred owned by Finish Line Racing, The Elwood Johnston Trust, and Taste of Victory Stables, and pushed his earnings to $885,361. Bred by Old English Rancho, Patsy Berumen, and Sal Berumen, What a View now has a record of 8-5-0.
Black said What a View could make his next start in the May 28 Shoemaker Mile (G1T).