Away from the races since February 2015, California-bred Bettys Bambino renewed his love affair with Santa Anita Park’s downhill turf course on Monday, closing strongly down the stretch to win the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes going away by 2 1/4 lengths under jockey Joel Rosario.
Stormy Liberal finished second, with Richard’s Boy third and Horse Laugh fourth. A 6-year-old gelding by Unusual Heat, Bettys Bambino covered the about 6 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:11.95.
Hobbits Hero set the early fractions in the San Simeon, going the opening quarter in :21.60 and the half in :43.36. Stormy Liberal moved through on the rail to take command inside the furlong pole, six furlongs in 1:05.95, but Rosario had Bettys Bambino in full flight on the outside.
Trained by Peter Eurton for his breeders, Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing LLC, Bettys Bambino was winning for the seventh time in 11 starts. All seven wins have come on the downhill course at Santa Anita.
“It’s hard to give horses that only have 10 starts some preps but it was a great race,” said Eurton. “After his last race he came up with a suspensory so we did a scan and he had a little lesion, nothing horrible. So, we did a little PRP on him, he took six months off and he came back training great for the race. No issues whatsoever. We had to give him the normal time off to recover and here he is today. It took a lot of waiting and a lot of patience. We could’ve easily given up but that would just be a waste of talent.”
“We’ve been away 22 months and I was just hoping we’d run and then run back in the Cal Cup (Sprint, Jan. 28),” said co-owner Joe Ciaglia. “This is so amazing. He was one week away from running here last spring and he hurt his shoulder. I can’t believe it. We came from off the pace and there were some good horses in here. Breeding horses like this . . . owning the mare, breeding her and seeing her kids grow up, it’s just an amazing experience. There’s nothing more satisfying.”
For Bettys Bambino, the win was the third consecutive stakes victory, dating back to the G3 Daytona on Dec. 28, 2014.
The San Simeon was the first of four consecutive graded stakes on the opening day program of the 2016-17 winter meet at Santa Anita.
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