Stryker Phd and Leslie Mawing in the Santa Anita walking ring.
STRYKER PHD FLIES LATE,
FINISHES SECOND AT SANTA ANITA
Longacres Mile champion Stryker Phd unleashed a torrid late rally and finished second to Regally Ready in Thursday’s $75,000 Big Bear Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at Santa Anita.
The 2014 Emerald Downs’ Horse of the Meeting, Stryker Phd swung four-wide into the lane and was gaining ground rapidly in the final strides.
“He ran great, the winner was a Breeders’ Cup winner a couple years ago, so you know it was a tough race,” said Stryker Phd’s regular rider Leslie Mawing. “He really gave his best in the last part of the race. He ran great.”
A multiple Grade 1 winner including a triumph in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, Regally Ready ran one mile on dirt in 1:35.65, and paid $5.60 as the betting favorite. Rosie Napravnik was aboard the winner at 124 lbs for Vinery Stables and trainer Steve Asmussen.
Stryker Phd, the 6-to-1 fourth choice, rallied from eighth to gain the place, and a check of $15,900 for owners Jim and Mona Hour of Bellevue.
“I had to keep (Stryker Phd) a little closer to the front today because speed was holding,” Mawing said. “He was in a nice comfortable rhythm on the backstretch. I had to go a little wide on the turn but he was just going by horses.”
Stryker Phd paid $6.20 and $4 for place and show.
“I’m really happy,” trainer Larry Ross said of Stryker Phd. “Of course, I would have been happier if he had won it. He made his move and finished ahead of some really good horses today.”
Safety Belt, the longest price on the board at 49-to-1, was a head back in third place and paid $11 to show. Blue Tone, Soi Phet, Sweet Sunshine, Blueskiesnrainbows and Politicallycorrect completed the order of finish. Blue Tone was nominated to the 2014 Longacres Mile, and Politicallycorrect finished ninth in the 2013 Mile as the 9-to-5 betting favorite.
As for Regally Ready, the 7-year-old son of More Than Ready improved to 16-2-6 in 37 starts with earnings of $1,654,506.
Stryker Phd, a 5-year-old by Bertrando-Striking Scholar, is 5-5-4 in 17 starts with earnings of $308,651. The Washington-bred gelding ran the table this year at Emerald Downs, setting stakes records while winning the Budweiser Handicap and Mount Rainier Handicap, and rallying from 13 lengths back to defeat Boyett in the Longacres Mile.