(from Santa Anita report)
British-bred Battle of Hastings scorched his competition in Santa Anita’s $100,000 La Puente Stakes (VIDEO) on April 11 when he rallied for a 1 1/2-length victory over Smokey Lonesome.
The one-mile turf event for 3-year-olds was executed in 1:34.38 by Battle of Hastings, who made it consecutive stakes scores for trainer Jeff Mullins and jockey Tyler Baze.
Michael House's imported son of Royal Applause took last month’s Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the hillside turf course at odds of 7-1. Baze, who described the bay gelding as “lost” during a dull United States debut in Hollywood Park’s Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) last November, said the “light bulb went on” in his last race.
Battle of Hastings, the 7-5 favorite in the La Puente, was forced extremely wide on the clubhouse turn. Baze settled him three lengths behind the early leaders but Battle of Hastings had to overcome a wide trip on the far turn as well. Smokey Lonesome got first run along the rail to take the lead mid-stretch before being overtaken on the outside by Battle of Hastings, who was being wrapped up under a hand ride.
“When I hit him left handed, he swapped leads, and just took off,” said Baze. “I’m looking forward to bigger and better things from him.” Said Mullins, “Tyler’s gotten to where he can control him now, and he’s gotten better and better.”
Smokey Lonesome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, held on for second, a head in front of Wall Street Wonder with Joel Rosario aboard. Leedstheway, a stablemate of the winner, was a late scratch. Also scratched were Cape Truth and Renegade Storm.
The winner paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60. Smokey Lonesome returned $4.40 and $3.20. Wall Street Wonder was $3.40 to show.
Battle of Hastings earned $60,000 to increase his career total to $153,875. After losing his first three starts in England, he won a pair before being imported to this country. The La Puente provided his fourth win in eight starts.
Myriad Communications and New England Stud bred Battle of Hastings.