ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2013)—Hard-sent from the gate by Edwin Maldonado, longshot Majestic City led throughout to win Friday’s $70,000 Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita, getting a flat mile in 1:35.20 while prevailing by a neck over 8-5 favorite Rousing Sermon. With stablemate Rail Trip finishing last at 9-2, Majestic City was considered by punters to be “the other Ellis,” as both are conditioned by Ron Ellis.
The biggest price in the five-horse Big Bear at 15-1, Majestic City had lost his previous 12 starts.
“We’ve been waiting so long to get a race for him at a mile,” said former jockey Jeff Bloom, who heads Bloom Racing Stable, LLC. “We planned to use his tactical speed, and when Summer Hit scratched out of the race, it set things up perfectly for us. We were hoping he could make the lead, go to pricking his ears a bit and then finish…He’s been doing so well.”
With Rousing Sermon tracking him throughout, Majestic City set fractions of 23.00, 46.58, 1:10.52 and 1:22.73. Majestic City paid $32.40, $11.00 and $5.00
“He’s a bit lazy,” said Maldonado. “Ron had two horses in the race and the plan was for me to go to the front and for Rail Trip to come from behind. I knew once my horse made the lead he would be a little more aggressive than usual, and the horse did the job.”
Second in both the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and (Keeneland’s) Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at age two, Majestic City, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by City Zip, improved his record to 16-4-2-2. With the Big Bear winner’s share of $43,260, he increased his earnings to $302,500.
Rousing Sermon, who came off a big allowance score on Oct. 3, just missed under Julien Leparoux, finishing a half length in front of Drill. He paid $3.60 and $2.40.
Drill, the third wagering choice with Mike Smith at 3-1, never threatened, and finished another half length in front of 9-5 second choice Soi Phet and Irving Orozco. Drill paid $2.80 to show.
Rail Trip, with Rafael Bejarano up, finished last, a neck behind Soi Phet.
The two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships begin Friday, with first post time at 10:40 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m. Santa Anita will present an 11-race program, highlighted by the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff, to be run as race 10.
Santa Anita Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets.The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.