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Santa Barbara Handicap : Fact Finder Closes With a Rush and Wins by a Nose

April 15, 1985| Associated Press

Fact Finder, ridden by Gary Stevens, caught frontrunner Love Smitten in the final strides, then edged ahead at the wire to win Sunday's $207,100 Santa Barbara Handicap by a nose at Santa Anita.

Carrying 118 pounds over the turf, Fact Finder was timed in 2:01 3-5 over the 1 miles.

Salt Spring wound up third in the event for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up, finishing a length behind the first two.

The wagering favorite of the crowd of 46,109, Reine Mathilde, finished fourth, five lengths back of Salt Spring. Reine Mathilde, the high weight at 125 pounds, was ridden by Bill Shoemaker.

Fact Finder, who earlier in the Santa Anita meeting won the San Gorgonio Handicap on the turf, paid $13.80, $5.80 and $3.40 for the victory.

Love Smitten, carrying 117 and ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., returned $5.80 and $3.80. The show payoff on Salt Spring, 114 and Rafael Meza, was $6.

Owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt of Dallas, Fact Finder is trained by Charlie Whittingham, who also saddles Greinton, winner of Saturday's San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita.

Love Smitten took the lead early, with Air Distingue second and Clear As Crystal third, as Stevens kept Fact Finder back in fourth.

Air Distingue and Clear As Crystal began to fade, however, and Fact Finder came on to successfully challenge the leader down the stretch.

Salt Spring, last in the six-horse field in the early going, also rallied late, but could not catch the two frontrunners.

Air Distingue finished fifth, and Clear As Crystal was last.

The victory was worth $116,600 to Fact Finder's owner.

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