Sumter and jockey Flavien Prat win the Pasadena by three-quarters of a length
Well supported and well spotted, Richard Mandella’s Sumter, who has found a home on grass, stretched out for the first time and rewarded his backers with an authoritative three-quarter-length win while dictating terms throughout in Saturday’s $100,000 Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Ridden by Flavien Prat, who registered his third consecutive win to close out the afternoon, Sumter, a 3-year-old colt by War Front, got one mile on turf in 1:34.77.
Freshened since rallying for an impressive 3 ¼-length maiden score going five furlongs on turf Nov. 14 at Del Mar, Sumter went to the front and was immediately engaged to his outside by Barbasas, who shadowed him by a half length to the far turn and nearly got on terms at the top of the lane, but Prat had a full tank of gas and in an instant, opened up three lengths en route to holding a late running Handy Dandy safe at the wire.
“He was traveling super,” said Prat, the meet’s runaway leading rider with 55 wins, 11 of them in stakes. “He broke good, got some speed from the sprint, but then settled in nice and was relaxing well. He responded well when I asked him to make a move. I think (this) was as impressive as (his win) last time.
“Especially given there was a question mark on the distance. He actually ran the distance well so, it was a good race today. I think the distance was perfect for him, he may even try further.”
Beaten 22 ¾ lengths in his 5 ½ furlong debut on dirt four starts back on July 25, Sumter then posted a pair of seconds going short on turf prior to the maiden win Nov. 14. Off as the 8-5 favorite in a field of 11 sophomores, he paid $5.20, $3.40 and $2.80.
Owned by Perry R. Bass II and Ramona Bass and bred in Kentucky by their Bass Stables, LLC, Sumter is out of the More Than Ready mare A Little Bit Sassy. With his first stakes win in-hand, Sumter now has earnings of $129,600 courtesy of the winner’s share of $60,000.
“Yes, we felt good about his chances today,” said Mandella. “His last couple works were pretty impressive. He’s always shown a lot of talent and I thought he might do well on the dirt (July 25) but he surely didn’t. Today, he was on the lead, but he was pretty relaxed doing it and that’s always the key.”
As for Handy Dandy, he appeared unlucky, as he got shuffled back while in tight quarters heading to the far turn and then unleashed a furious stretch rally to come up a diminishing three quarters of a length shy on the money.
Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Handy Dandy was off at 5-1 and paid $5.40 and $3.60.
Mid-pack about six lengths off the lead at the half mile marker, Crosby Beach saved ground to the top of the lane, altered course a sixteenth out just out-sprinted Don’t Swear Dave by a head for third money while finishing 1 ½ lengths behind Handy Dandy.
Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Crosby Beach was off at 11-1 and paid $5.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.17, 47.70, 1:11.49 and 1:23.06.
Racing resumes with a nine-race card on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.