Fab Oak Stable homebred Nownownow scored a big upset in the $150,000 San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) Jan. 17 at Santa Anita, coming from off the pace to win the 1 1/16-mile event for 4-year-olds by 1 1/2 lengths.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Nownownow saved ground throughout the backstretch, moved into contention along the final turn and was angled out in upper stretch. He gained the lead from Wishful Tomcat nearing the sixteenth-pole and pulled clear for his first graded stakes victory.
The final time on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface was 1:41.45. Patrick Biancone saddled Nownownow, who was sent off at 18-1. It was the trainer's first win since coming back from a suspension of nearly 15-months.
“I’ve been working this horse a lot in the mornings; he’s a push-button horse to ride,” Talamo said. “The blinkers put him more into the race early and he was closer today. There was a lot of speed in the race and Pat said to be patient. I was able to stay on the rail and it opened up for me there at the top of the stretch.”
Dakota Phone also made a strong move in the final furlong to take second at 17-1 under Garrett Gomez. Wishful Tomcat (10-1) was third, 1 1/2 lengths better than favorite Slew’s Tiznow.
With David Flores in the irons, Muny set the early pace by clicking off fractions of :23.14, :47.12 and 1:11.36. Booted, Silver Sword and Wishful Tomcat were in stalking position, and the latter took over coming out of the final turn. Wishful Tomcat had a 1 1/2-length advantage with an eighth of a mile remaining, but Nownownow was just getting revved up.
“He was very good today,” Biancone said. “Joe rode the perfect race. He saved all the ground, came out at the right time; perfect day.
“The key was to have him ready for the Strub gr. II, Feb. 7), and we’re going to do that. After that, we’ll see (about the Santa Anita Handicap on March 7). We’ll see how he comes out of his races.”
Nownownow entered the race winless in his last six starts and hadn’t won since taking the inaugural 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf 2007 at Monmouth Park. Last out, he was sixth in the grade I Malibu Stakes Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.
The son of Whywhywhy—Here and Now, by Exit to Nowhere, is now 3-3-1 from 13 starts with earnings of $775,599. He was bred in Kentucky.
The winner paid $38.40, $14 and $6.60. The $1 exacta (6-12) was worth $252.70, while the $1 trifecta (6-12-2) netted $3,630.70.
Cherokee Artist was fifth, a half-length in front of El Gato Malo, who won last year's San Rafael (gr. III) at Santa Anita. Madeo was pulled up and vanned off.