Photos by Benoit Photo

ARCADIA, CA (April 9, 2023)—In his first try down Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course, First Peace found room at the rail turning for home and prevailed by one length over longshot Mas Rapido as owners Rancho Temescal, LLC and Red Baron’s Barn, LLC padded their meet-leading races-won number to 13. Trained by Mark Glatt and ridden by Mike Smith, First Peace, A Kentucky-bred colt by Funtastic, got about 6 ½ furlongs in 1:11.50.

Third, about five lengths off of speed merchant Helladic at the half mile pole, Smith bided his time at the dirt crossing behind both Helladic and Nullarbor. When Helladic drifted out just a bit, Smith dove inside and was able to keep Mas Rapido safe in a big effort.

“He was oozing confidence from the time I got on him,” said Smith. “He really loved coming down the hill, so we may have a whole lot of fun with him coming down that hill. I wanted to make sure that I gave him a fair chance to get through and not put him in a spot that was going to be dangerous for both of us. When the horse on the lead came out, it gave us the opportunity, because I was so loaded, when I did ask him, he was in there quick.”

First Peace and jockey Mike Smith win the $100,000 John Shear Stakes Sunday, April 9, 2023 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA.
Benoit Photo

Shortening up out of three consecutive races at one mile on turf, most recently a second place finish in the Eddie Logan Stakes Dec. 30 First Peace was off at 4-1 and paid $10.00, $4.40 and $4.00.

“I’ve been a big fan of this horse since the day he got into my barn,” said Glatt, who got his second win of the day, moving him into fourth place in the Classic Meet standings on closing day with his 23rd overall win. “Going a mile…He’s an aggressive horse and he hasn’t learned to quite settle (at that distance) and I think it’s hurt him in a couple of his mile races, even though he’s run really well in those races.

“I thought that down the hill was going to be right up his alley. Sometimes you never know unless you try it. If they like the layout…but he’s a runner. He was able to relax a little and sit behind the speed and Mike did a wonderful job on him and pushed the button when he could and the horse responded.”

A $75,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase a year ago in Ocala, FLA, First Peace is out the Point of Entry mare Peace Opportunity. Third two starts back in the Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at Del Mar Dec. 4, First Peace is now 6-2-2-1. With today’s winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $141,300.

Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, English-bred Mas Rapido finished well but couldn’t go with the winner, finishing 3 ¾ lengths in front of Valiancer. Off at 9-1, Mas Rapido paid $9.20 and $5.00.

Ridden by Hector Berrios, Valiancer saved ground at the rail to the top of the lane, angled out and out ran 3-5 favorite Conclude by three quarters of a length for third money. Off at 9-1, Valiancer paid $4.80 to show.

Fractions on the race were 21.19, 43.20 and 1:05.65.

Live racing will resume with first post time at 1 p.m. for opening day of Santa Anita’s Hollywood Meet on Friday, April 21. Santa Anita will be open for simulcast wagering, with free parking and admission, this Thursday through Sunday.