By Dick Downey
River Boyne, under a jockey who arrived to ride him at the last minute, won the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita as the 7-5 favorite.
Afleet Ascent set the pace, followed closely by Platinum Equity and Heck Yeah early in the race, set fractions of 23.54, :47.03, and 1:11.59. By the time the six-furlong mark had been attained, Heck Yeah had backed out of contention. Afleet Ascent narrowly led through the turn, but River Boyne and Inscom were coming and took command in the stretch.
Inscom led by a head at the furlong marker, but River Boyne wasn't to be denied and triumphed by a length over Inscom. La La Land was third, another 2 1/2 lengths back. He was followed by Buckstopper Kit, Heck Yeah, Afleet Ascent, and Platinum Equity. Ax Man and Pubilius Syrus were scratched.
River Boyne was timed in 1:35.92. It was his third straight win following two open-length scores on the Santa Anita grass.
Joel Rosario was recruited to ride River Boyne. Regular rider Flavien Prat was unavailable because he was at Oaklawn Park to ride Solomini.
Winning trainer Jeff Mullins: “Joel kind of rode him the way he appeared to arrive. He didn’t get here until about 15, 20 minutes before post time. I just asked him if he watched any replays, he said, ‘Yeah,’ and I said, ‘You know enough.' When we found out Prat had to travel (to ride Solomini), and everyone here had already taken a mount, the Cohens offered to fly somebody in, so I called Ron Anderson (Rosario’s agent) and got Joel to come ride him.”
Joel Rosario: "I was a little bit nervous that I wouldn't get here in time today. We had a delay in Florida, and then, when I got here, there was a lot of traffic on the road. I'm glad I was able to make it.
Jedd Cohen of Red Baron's Barn, owner: “Flavien had to go to New York (sic) today, but he loves this horse. He gallops him, and doesn’t want anybody else on him in the morning. He told us this is the best 3-year-old grass horse he’s ever been on. He can do anything, he’ll go around, sit inside, he’s very handy. He trains great on the dirt…” Would you consider the Preakness? "It’s in my head.”