Creative Cause Spurts by Bodemeister to Win San Felipe Stakes
Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire
By Dick Downey
Creative Cause won the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, but it wasn't without some drama.
American Act took the early lead just ahead of Bodemeister, and those two were followed around the first turn by Tiz Point and Groovin' Solo. Creative Cause was four lengths back in fifth.
Up the backstretch, American Act continued to set the pace and marked fractions of :22.95 and :46.98, with Bodemeister nearby. Groovin' Solo and Tiz Point ran together behind those two, and Creative Cause remained in perfect stalking position in fifth.
Rounding the far turn, Bodemeister put American Act away, Groovin' Solo was already done, and Tiz Point was about to engage in a rapid retreat. But Creative Cause was getting geared up and threatened to take the lead at the top of the lane.
Instead, Creative Cause and Joel Rosario went wide into the stretch, losing some ground on Bodemeister. With blinkers on as usual, it's not clear Creative Cause could see his main competition at this point.
The remainder of the race consisted of those two shifting around in the stretch, with Bodemeister coming out and Creative Cause coming in, switching leads and then digging past Bodemeister in the last few yards to win by three parts of a length. The 1 1/16 mile was timed in 1:41.84.
Midnight Transfer, who came running late to finish third -- he was sixth of of 10 after one-half mile -- looped over to the rail in deep stretch and was beaten three lengths.
Liaison, who trailed the field early and was ninth, 5 3/4 lengths off the lead after a half-mile and seventh, five lengths back after six furlongs, finished fourth, 2 1/2 lengths behind Midnight Transfer.
Fifth was Rousing Sermon, followed by Blingo, American Act, Tiz Point, Empire Way and Groovin' Solo.
Trainer Mike Harrington, who was more relieved than excited after the race, said he believes that Creative Cause doesn't need to improve much. He was firm that the Santa Anita Derby will be next for the gray colt. He said stable mate Empire Way would ship for his next race, commenting that perhaps he doesn't like dirt in his face.
Rosario said he noticed the front-runners slowing in the second turn, and that Creative Cause had momentum at that point and kept going.
Liaison looks probable for the Santa Anita Derby, Bob Baffert saying he doesn't want to ship him. Baffert said there are a lot of options for Bodemeister.
Creative Cause paid $6.40, $3.40 and $2.60.
Creative Cause won the San Felipe after finishing third in the seven-furlong, Grade II San Vicente Stakes at odds-on. He won $180,000 in the San Felipe, upping his total graded stakes earnings to $686,000.
It was Bodemeister's first stakes race, and he took home $60,000 of the $300,000 purse. Midnight Transfer, making his graded stakes debut, picked up $36,000, and Liaison's check for $18,000 increaed his graded cash to $393,000.
Creative Cause is a Kentucky-bred from the operation of James C. Weigel. Owned by Heinz Steinmann, Creative Cause is by Giant's Causeway out of Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer. He was bought at Keeneland in September 2010 for $135,000.
Mike Harrington, trainer of Creative Cause and Empire Way: “He was a little late switching (leads), but Joel said he didn’t have any trouble. I don’t know exactly what the story was. Once he switched, he took off.
“I guess any win is good. They got to work if they win it. This horse will run back in the Santa Anita Derby. The other horse will go someplace else. I don’t know why he didn’t run today, but maybe he didn’t like dirt in his face, whatever, but he won’t run back here.
“It’s a real relief to get these kinds of things over with. This was a $300,000; he didn’t have to win it, but these are the kind of races you like to win. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if he didn’t win because he’s got money enough to go.
“I said all along it’s a progression, and the only thing I hope is he doesn’t peak in the Santa Anita Derby instead of the Kentucky Derby. That’s my job to kind of keep that from happening. I felt he would run big off the San Vicente. A lot of people thought the San Vicente was a bad race. I was ecstatic with it.”
Joel Rosario, aboard Creative Cause: “The race set up perfect today. There were a couple horses with speed up front, and when I saw tha,t I just let him find his stride and go from there. My horse was a little green at the top of the lane, but I wanted to make sure that he didn’t wait for another horse to come beat him. He galloped out good after the wire, which helps to show he may be the right horse for the Derby. That means a lot to me.
"I’m happy to get a chance to ride in it, and I want to win the race. Mike doesn’t say too much, but he’s really smart, and he’s done a really good job with this horse.”
Bob Baffert, concerning Bodemeister: “He ran well. He just got a little tired. He ran a pretty hard race.”
Rafael Bejarano, up on Bodemeister: “My horse ran a really good race. He broke really well from the gate. I was in the perfect position. He was really comfortable. He showed me a big kick in the stretch. The other horse had to run really hard to beat me. He tried really hard. It’s only his third time.”
Carla Gaines, trainer of Midnight Transfer: “I’m very happy with his race considering it was his first time going two turns. He was down on the inside the whole way, but I thought he ran well. I was just hoping there was a little more kick that last jump, but it was a good experience for him.”
Victor Espinoza, rider of Midnight Transfer: “He ran very good. It was his first time going long, and I think he’s going to improve from this. I had no trouble in the race. I was very happy about my trip all the way around.”