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HORSE RACING

Obrigado goes farther in win at Santa Anita

February 26, 2007|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Obrigado, the only horse in the race who had never run 1 1/2 miles, won the $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap on Sunday at Santa Anita.

Winning for the second time in eight starts in the U.S., the 4-year-old Enrique gelding, owned by Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso and trained by Neil Drysdale, prevailed by half a length under jockey Garrett Gomez in the Grade II turf race.

Third in the San Marcos last month in his first start of the year, Obrigado, the 7-2 second choice, sat third for most of the trip while longshot Brave Maestro opened an 18-length lead in the first mile, then got the lead into the stretch and went on to win in 2:27.21.

"When I rode him at Hollywood Park, he acted like a horse who wanted to go a mile and a half or further," Gomez said of Obrigado's second-place finish in the Hollywood Derby on Nov. 26. "When [Bravo Maestro] took off like he did, I just decided to ignore him and sit close to the horses I knew we would have to beat. Neil has done a great job with him. We got lucky with where we were, and he really kicked through the lane."

One Off, who had won the San Marcos at 11-1 for Drysdale, crossed the wire second but was disqualified and placed third for interfering with On The Acorn through the final eighth of a mile. On The Acorn, claimed for $40,000 last Nov. 25, placed for the first time in a graded stakes and the runner-up check he collected pushed his earnings to $98,400 in 2007.

Runaway Dancer finished fourth, then came 19-10 favorite Notable Guest, defending champion Atlando and Bravo Maestro.

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The $1-million Santa Anita Handicap, which will be run for the 70th time Saturday, lost a starter Sunday.

Brother Derek, winless since taking the Santa Anita Derby nearly 11 months ago, is out of the race because of a bone chip in his left front ankle, according to trainer Dan Hendricks.

"It's a recurring problem that probably will require him to be off for four months," Hendricks said.

That means defending champion Lava Man probably will have eight opponents -- McCann's Mojave, Arson Squad, Boboman, El Roblar, Awesome Gem, Ball Four, Molengao and Spring At Last -- in the 1 1/4 -mile Big 'Cap.

Alex Solis, who was to have ridden Brother Derek, picked up the mount on Boboman, who will be making his main-track debut, and David Flores will ride Spring At Last.

Entries for the Santa Anita Handicap, the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile and the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes will be taken Wednesday morning.

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Making her first start of 2007, Audacious Chloe, the 3-1 second choice, upset favored Dreaming Of Anna in winning the $76,500 Gaily Gaily at Gulfstream Park.

Owned by Team Valor Stables and Never Tell Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, Audacious Chloe, a 3-year-old More Than Ready filly, won for the third time in six starts, scoring by half a length under jockey John Velazquez. The time for the 1 1/16 miles on turf was 1:41.71.

The loss was the second in 15 days for Dreaming Of Anna, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2006 who was unbeaten in four races last year. Later in the day, Royal Highness and jockey Edgar Prado defeated Safari Queen and Velazquez, winning the $100,000 Very One Handicap.

bob.mieszerski@latimes.com

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