Sharp Samurai and jockey Gary Stevens, right, overpower Fashion Business (Joseph Talamo), left, to win the Grade III, $ 150,000 La Jolla Handicap
Under a well-calculated ride by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, favored Sharp Samurai surged into command while five-wide entering the stretch and then withstood the last-ditch challenge of Fashion Business to win the headlined Grade III $ 150,000 La Jolla Handicap for three-year-olds Sunday.
Sharp Samurai, sent to the gate a solid 6-5 favorite, won by a head over the fast-closing Fashion Business, with Colonist third, another three-quarters of a length back, and almost four lengths in front of Placido at the wire. Caribou Club was scratched.
Owned by Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal and trained by Mark Glatt, Sharp Samurai, a son of First Samurai, stepped the mile and one-sixteenth on turf in 1:41.51 to earn first money of $ 90,000 by virtue of his fourth success in seven starts. A winner of the Rainbow Stakes at Santa Anita June 10, the gelding now has lifetime earnings of $ 195,870.
With his victory, Sharp Samurai will be one of the favorites in the Grade II $ 250,000 Del Mar Derby at nine furlongs Sunday, September 3.
Across the board, Sharp Samurai paid $ 4.40, $ 3 and $ 2.40. Runner-up Fashion Business returned $ 7.20 and $ 4, while Colonist paid $ 3.20 to show.
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