By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
Tapizar finished off the board at 1-5 odds in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes after setting a rank fast pace, but Anthony's Cross, who tracked Tapizar in second, won the race. And when it was over, bridge jumpers were feeling a lot of pain.
Tapizar was rank and wouldn't relax in the early going. Shooting to the lead, he reeled off fractions of :22.48 and :45.64, followed a couple of lengths by Anthony's Cross. Wegner, Riveting Reason and Quail Hill stalked behind them down the backstretch.
Rounding the second turn, it was apparent Tapizar was in deep trouble as he was collared by Anthony's Cross with six furlongs having gone in 1:09.92. The favorite started backing up in the stretch. Anthony's Cross and Joel Rosario went on with it, soon to be joined to his outside by Riveting Reason, ridden by Victor Espinoza.
Anthony's Cross outgutted Riveting Reason to the wire for the win by a nose, timed in 1:48.63. Quail Hill finished third, beaten 4 1/4 lengths, after saving ground and coming out in the stretch. Thirtyfirststreet came 1 3/4 length behind him in fourth. Tapizar, Wegner and Ten Devils brought up the rear.
Eion Harty trains Anthony's Cross for A D K Racing. In his last outing, Anthony's Cross picked up $12,000 with a third-place finish in the Grade III Sham Stakes. With his $150,000 winner's share from the $250,000 Lewis, Anthony's Cross now has $162,000 graded stakes earnings.
Anthony's Cross and Riveting Reason were sent off at 8-1 and 7-1 odds, respectively, resulting in an exacta payoff of $99.20. The $1 trifecta returned $1,266.10, and the dollar super paid $4,586.10.
There were inverted show payoffs as Tapizar bridge jumpers headed for the parking lot. The winner, who paid $18.60 to win and $8.00 to place, returned $15.60 to show. Riveting Reason paid $7.60 to place and $15.20 to show, and Quail Hill, who was 68-1, returned $$48.60 for the show.
By Indian Charlie, Anthony's Cross is out of Screening, by Unbridled. He was bred in Pennsylvania by George Strawbridge, Jr.
Winning trainer Eion Harty: “We've toyed with the idea off and on (of adding blinkers) since his first start, and I just thought he'd come around and mature mentally on his own, and he didn't, so I felt it was time to give him a little help. We worked him with the blinkers twice prior to this race, and he showed vast improvement both times. He's just been kind of a big Baby Huey, and it's taken him a while to get focused. I was hoping he'd come around on his own. I didn't really want to rush to put the blinkers on him, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
“When the entries came out, we went through both races, we decided to stay here and take a shot on the dirt and if we get beat, we get beat. He was training well, he's super fit and I thought with the addition of blinkers . . . and of course Joel Rosario, it never hurts to have him.
“There’s no reason to move him (from Santa Anita). I've got to decide whether to give him one more start before the Santa Anita Derby or just sit and wait. It's a long time between now and then, so it takes some serious consideration.”
Joel Rosario, aboard Anthony's Cross: “He broke a little slow. He showed me a little bit of speed in the first turn, and I just let him go to find where he wanted to be. I could see the favorite was giving (Garrett) Gomez some trouble. I saw Gomez try to take his horse back a bit, and his horse fought him a little bit. I stayed a little closer to the pace today, but it probably didn’t make the difference in the race. He’s a good horse and it was no surprise to see him run that good.”
Steve Asmussen, trainer of Tapizar, at his barn: “He seems to be walking OK right now, but he’s pretty tired.”
Garrett Gomez, aboard Tapizar: “He was super aggressive today. I couldn’t ever really get him shut off too much. He was kind of wound in the post parade, a little antsy at the gate. He was a little more of a handful. He was just antsy. I thought when he cleared and made the lead, he would come back to me, but he never really would. He just kept pulling.”