February 22, 2024

Last-to-first Flashiest upsets Oceanside at 12-1

Flashiest (pink silks) edges Crew Dragon in the Oceanside S. at Del Mar © BENOIT PHOTO

Leisurely out of the gate but fastest at the finish, the 12.80-1 Flashiest prevailed in a cavalry charge to the wire in Friday’s $103,500 Oceanside S. at Del Mar. The Leonard Powell trainee was making his stakes debut in the traditional opening-day feature, a stepping stone to the track’s graded stakes for turf sophomores.

Flashiest was last of the 12-horse field early, but passed a couple of rivals down the backstretch. Traveling well for Abel Cedillo, the Mizzen Mast gelding cut his deficit to about four lengths on the far turn despite circling wide.

Meanwhile, frontrunning Hockey Dad was carving out splits of :23.03, :46.95, and 1:11.57 on the firm turf. Dream Shake, who could not tolerate the moderate pace in his turf debut, moved up to press the leader by the half and appeared to have Hockey Dad in his grasp turning into the stretch. But Dream Shake lacked punch down the lane and ultimately weakened.

Just as Hockey Dad repelled that challenge, the closers swooped en masse. The 6.90-1 Crew Dragon, a new recruit to the John Sadler barn, loomed on the outside, and the 39-1 longshot No Foolery Here split foes to collar Hockey Dad late.

Widest of all, though, came the blaze face of Flashiest. Still a tad green when hopping to his left lead before switching again in the final yards, he headed Crew Dragon on the line in a final time of 1:35.88 for the mile. No Foolery Here was another nose away in third, with the game Hockey Dad beaten all of a half-length in fourth.

Whatmakessammyrun, the 2-1 favorite, stalked early and remained in the hunt until the final sixteenth when outfinished in fifth. Petruchio rallied from well back for sixth, followed by Jungle Cry; Dream Shake, who was unable to emulate sire Twirling Candy, the 2010 Oceanside hero; None Above the Law; Harbored Memories; Fighting Force; and Ingest. Brutto and Mucho del Oro were scratched.

“I had a plan for him,” Cedillo said of Flashiest, “but he didn’t break so well and so I didn’t push it. I just let him do his own thing and saved ground around the first turn. But when we went for the second turn, I said ‘This is it.’ I went wide with him and let him do his thing. He did it all. He was the winner.” 

Powell knew that Flashiest’s habits gave Cedillo little choice.

“I wasn’t happy being so wide,” the trainer said, “but this horse has always been a bad actor at the gate and never sends speed. And when you don’t have the speed, you have to go wide to advance. I thought he was six or seven wide turning into the stretch, but he has a big, long stride reaching out. He was a very immature horse and he came in late to the barn, but he has been a good presence.” 

Flashiest, who paid $27.60, races for a partnership including Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, co-breeder Nicky Drion, and Mathilde Powell. Wachtel and Barber bought into the promising dark bay after he overcame a rough start to win a May 15 allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita, where he was available for a $100,000 tag. Flashiest also had a checkered passage in his successful debut in a lower-key spot, an optional claiming maiden at Turf Paradise April 5. His lone loss was a troubled second in another Santa Anita allowance June 18. Rallying from last in all of his starts so far, he sports a mark of 4-3-1-0, $120,102.

With the Oceanside on his resume, the Aug. 8 La Jolla S. (G3) and Sept. 4 Del Mar Derby (G2) are the natural targets at Del Mar. But Powell alluded to other options back East as well, so Flashiest could take his game on the road.

Bred by Indian Creek and Drion in Kentucky, Flashiest is out of the Malibu Moon mare Nothing to Wear. His Glen Hill Farm-bred dam is a half-sister to Wishing Gate, winner of the 2013 San Clemente H. (G2) and runner-up in both the Del Mar Oaks (G1) and John C. Mabee S. (G2). Wishing Gate has produced multiple stakes scorer Summering, who captured the 2018 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Flashiest’s second dam is multiple Grade 3 winner Rich in Spirit, a descendant of blue hen Square Angel via 1987 Beverly D. heroine Dancing on a Cloud.