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Las Vegas, NV - Another week of graded stakes action is in the books and as always, there was some terrific action all over the country. Two tracks hosted important graded stakes races this weekend - both Gulfstream and Santa Anita each hosted a Grade 3 race Saturday and a Grade 2 race Sunday. Let's take a look at what went down in Florida and California this past weekend starting with the Saturday action.
The Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 12 featured a furious stretch run an eventual win by 41-1 shot Mucho Mas Macho over Gulfstream's turf course. 19-1 shot Tiz Sardonic Joe was nipped at the wire and finished second while 4-1 Big Blue Kitten finished a respectable third. Nikki's Sandcastle, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth. Morning line favorite Dominus was disappointing scratch as was Pants on Fire. Quick Wit, Empire Builder, Vertiformer, Sky Blazer, Hollinger, and Fifty Proof completed the order of finish.
9-2 second choice Bob Baffert trained Fed Biz won his first ever graded stakes race with a gate-to-wire win in the Grade 3 San Fernando Stakes Saturday at Santa Anita Park, finally realizing the infinite potential that was expected of this horse. Tritap, making his seasonal debut finished a very good second while another Bob Baffert entry Guilt Trip finished third. Then came Battle Force, Handsome Mike, Tribal Jewel, Regulus, and Fly Lexis Fly.
9-5 favorite Csaba kept his incredible streak of four stakes wins in a row intact Sunday in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park, all but assuring his participation in next month's Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Fast closing Pool Play moved from eighth to finish second by a neck and Pants On Fire edged out Soldat in a terrific finish for third. Fourth place Soldat was followed by Good Morning Diva, Scatman, Associate, and Delegation. Cool Blue Red Hot and Swagger Jack were scratched.
In the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita Sunday 2-1 second choice Jeranimo took first by 2 3/4 lengths for the second time in three years at this race and in turn returned to the form that saw his career earnings soar to over $1 million in 2012. Temple's Door finished second and Chosen Miracle was third. Slim Shadey, the 3-2 favorite in the field of seven older runners, faded in the stretch after launching a bid on the far turn to reach contention, and finished next-to-last. Juniper Pass was fourth, Tale of a Champion was fifth, Slim Shadey finished sixth followed by Fast Track.
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