On Sunday, Snow Ridge continued his impressive run through the sprint stakes schedule at Santa Anita, leading wire-to-wire in winning the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. I). Earlier at the meet, Snow Ridge won the El Conejo (gr. III) and Palos Verdes (gr. II) handicaps.
Snow Ridge was allowed to set a slow early pace on the fast track, then had plenty left to hold off the field in the stretch in the seven-furlong race.
"Getting that first quarter off in :23 (:23.13) was a big help," said winning rider Mike Smith. "After that, actually he was relaxing so much that it was good that (Alyzig) came to him. Then he was able to get running back on his mind because he was looking all over. It's really amazing to get a horse with this kind of ability, and get him enjoying what he's doing, and that's what he's doing right now. He's having fun out there."
Smith and Snow Ridge stopped the timer at 1:22.02.
Alyzig, the highest price in the field at 19-1, finished second, a length ahead of Grey Memo. Stormy Jack, Ceeband, and Hasty Kris completed the order of finish.
The win marks the first in a grade I stakes race for the 4-year-old Overbrook Farm runner.
"Winning his first grade I was important," said winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "I think he's a quality horse, but all these quality horses need to get it on their resume, especially if they're stud horses, at some point. You get it behind you, it's there forever. I told Mr. Young (Overbrook Farm owner William T. Young) and the Overbrook family today, 'we need to get this. It's sitting out there in front of us and we need to jump on it and get it.' "
Lukas indicated the 6 1/2-furlong Potrero Grande (gr. II) as the next likely target for Snow Ridge, though he hasn't ruled out stretching out chestnut colt at some point.
"Mike's (Smith) getting to know him better and we ran against some fast horses (in the El Conejo and the Palos Verdes)," said the conditioner. "Today we were logically the speed of the race and what I liked about him is the way he relaxed through the first half-mile. Hell, he wasn't rank for Mike or anything and Mike was cruising up there and the fractions were realistic. It may give us a dimension to maybe get something like the Met Mile or something where we're going to go a little bit further. He's out of a Woodman mare by a horse that won the Belmont (Tabasco Cat) so I don't think he has to be looked at as a six furlong horse, although that's what he's doing best right now."
Snow Ridge earned $90,000 for the win, his ninth in 18 career starts. Mt. Brilliant Farm LLC bred the $420,000 yearling purchase. (Chart, Equibase