Santa Monica Upset Cheers Underdogs

Santa Monica Upset Cheers Underdogs
Photo: Benoit
Intangaroo holds off Society Hostess to take the Santa Monica.
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Hystericalady, the 3-10 favorite, just didn't have it in her first start since the Breeders' Cup, opening the door for Intangaroo, the longest shot in the field at 26-1, to win the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Santa Anita Feb. 2.

The 24-year-old jockey Alonso Quinonez guided Intangaroo along the rail to a nose victory over Society Hostess in the seven-furlong Cushion Track event for older fillies and mares. The runner-up had seized the lead on the outside of three horses and appeared to be a winner until the final couple of strides.

It was the first grade I victory for the jockey, trainer, and horse. Intangaroo, in fact, was making her stakes debut for 62-year-old conditioner Gary Sherlock, only recently returning to training after a long absence. Sherlock said this was his biggest victory since winning the Los Alamitos Derby in 1977.

The trainer said he was trying to take advantage of a small field to get his 4-year-old Orientate   filly a grade I placing.

"To be honest, we were running for third. She’s a nice filly, and I would have been happy to hit the board," Sherlock said. "This whole business is based on bloodstock development. This filly now has big value. I hurt my hand from hitting on the box (seat during the stretch run).”

Intangaroo came off the rail on the turn to reach contention three wide and angled to the inside for the stretch drive, getting up under strong urging.

“This filly was very, very game," said Quinonez, a native of Sinaloa, Mexico. "All I had to do was follow Mr. Sherlock’s instructions. He told me to save something for the stretch, and everything went great. This is unbelievable, it feels great.”

The Santa Monica was originally scheduled Jan. 27 but had to be made up after the card was canceled that day due to the unsafe conditions of the Cushion Track caused by inclement weather.

The failure of Hystericalady changed the complexion of the race. Hystericalady, a grade I winner at the distance, pressed a dazzling pace but came under a ride from jockey Rafael Bejarano rounding the bend and had nothing left for the home stretch. She finished fourth in a field reduced to five by the scratch of top contender Pussycat Doll.

The bridge jumpers were out in force for the Santa Monica. Not only did Intangaroo pay $55.80 to win and $13.20 to place, she returned $32 to show. The unlucky Society Hostess settled for second under Jose Valdivia Jr., returning $5.20 and $18.20. Pacesetter Overly Tempting, who carved fractions of :21 3/5, :44 and 1:07 3/5, was $16.80 to show as the 9-2 second choice. She finished 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

Silky Smooth trailed Hystericalady.

Intangaroo won her last start, a first-level allowance race under Quinonez, at 6 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 11. The Santa Monica victory was her third in nine races and swelled her earnings to $244,880 for her late owner, Tom Grether, whose son Carl represented the farm in the winner's circle.

The dark bay was bred in Kentucky by Pollock Farms and Taylor Made Farm. A $37,000 yearling at Keeneland in September 2005, she is out of the Tasso mare Tasso's Magic.

The millionaire Hystericalady, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, was making her first start since a heart-breaking runner-up showing in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff  (gr. I) Oct. 27 when she lost a stretch duel to Ginger Punch by a neck.

(Chart, Equibase)

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