Trainer Ed Gregson has made the most of his three victories through the first 22 days of Santa Anita's winter-spring meet.
Two of the victories have come in the last five racing programs and both were upsets in stakes races.
Six days after Lady At Peace's front-running surprise in the San Gorgonio Handicap, Penny Blues, the longest shot in the field of five 3-year-old fillies at 15-1, rallied from last to win the $106,000 Santa Ynez Stakes Sunday in Arcadia.
Owned in partnership by actors James Gammon and Don Johnson--Gammon portrays Johnson's father on the CBS series "Nash Bridges"--Penny Blues won for the second time at Santa Anita in less than a month, beating 2-1 second choice Classic Olympio by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:23 1/5 for the seven furlongs.
Bred in Florida by Gammon and his wife Nancy, the daughter of Pentelicus became a Grade II winner in her first appearance in a graded stakes and now has won three of six. Her maiden victory came when racing for a $62,500 claiming tag last summer at Del Mar.
In a race run fast early (the first half mile went in 44 3/5) and slow late, Penny Blues and Eddie Delahoussaye found room to rally along the inside into the stretch and the $63,600 top prize more than doubled her previous earnings. She had banked $60,000 in her other four starts.
"What can I tell you?" Gregson said. "She's an overachiever. She's never run fast times, but she's a big, growthy kind of filly. She's obviously improving. She's got a lot of heart."
The big disappointment in the Santa Ynez was Cash Run. Making her first start of 2000 for Satish Sanan's Padua Stables and trainer Wayne Lukas, the 9-10 favorite pressed the pace for a half-mile, but then faded to fourth. She was beaten nearly 13 lengths by the winner.
Given the result Sunday and her loss at 4-5 in the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs in her previous start, Cash Run's 32-1 upset in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies may have been a fluke.
Lukas, who had said earlier this month nobody should doubt the Seeking The Gold filly's quality, hasn't lost any faith.
"It was just a bad training job," said Lukas, who still has Surfside, the best 3-year-old filly in the country. "It has nothing to do with the filly. I left her short. I was trying to think down the road a little bit and just did a bad training job."
Classic Olympio, who had won the Anoakia and Moccasin Stakes in her last two races around one turn, finished eight lengths ahead of Mean Imogene, then came Cash Run and early pacesetter Gilded Diablo. Qui's Fair Lady, who would have been the longest shot in the field had she participated, was scratched earlier in the day.
Horse Racing Notes
Trainer Ed Gregson said Penny Blues will probably try two turns in her next start and mentioned the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks on March 12 as a target. . . . Bosque Redondo, a promising 3-year-old for owners Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan and trainer Paco Gonzalez, will be sidelined for an indefinite period because of a problem with his right hind leg. The son of Mane Minister was supposed to run in this Sunday's $100,000 Santa Catalina Stakes, a race that will mark the 2000 debut of Hollywood Futurity winner Captain Steve. . . . A.P. Assay, another horse owned by McCaffery and Toffan, has been retired and will be bred to Kingmambo this spring.