As 3-10 favorite Brickyard Ride faded under pressure, a pair of 13-1 shots fought out the finish of Sunday’s $200,500 Triple Bend (G2) at Santa Anita. American Theorem nipped an ultra-game Principe Carlo, who had done the hard work of hounding the favorite. Favorites had better luck in the turf stakes, with Bran landing the $100,000 Daytona (G3) and Cairo Memories the $100,500 Honeymoon (G3).
Triple Bend (G2)
Kretz Racing’s American Theorem was the highlight of a banner four-win day for trainer George Papaprodromou. The gray was also completing an unusual big-race double for sire American Pharoah, whose daughter Above the Curve captured the Prix Saint-Alary (G1) earlier Sunday at ParisLongchamp.
American Theorem had placed at the top level himself as a juvenile, fittingly when second in the 2019 running of the American Pharoah (G1) at this track. But he’d been disappointing in stakes company ever since. Although shortening up to one turn here helped, so did a perfect trip courtesy of Joe Bravo.
When the streaking Brickyard Ride went to the front, Principe Carlo pressed through splits of :21.96 and :44.09 on the fast track. The odds-on favorite was being driven by jockey Juan Hernandez, but failed to respond and began to retreat on the far turn.
Meanwhile, American Theorem had been traveling extremely well in an observational spot a couple of lengths behind the contested pace. Ready to inhale the leaders on cue, American Theorem had only Principe Carlo to tackle upon straightening, and appeared poised to go right on by.
But Principe Carlo lifted to meet his challenge and dug in resolutely on the inside. A relentless American Theorem forced his nose in front as they crossed the wire in unison, 3 1/4 lengths clear. American Theorem finished seven furlongs in 1:22.17 and sparked a $28 win mutuel.
Get Her Number, outpaced in last through the opening half-mile, found his feet late in third. A further 2 1/4 lengths back came Exaulted, followed by Brickyard Ride and Elector in the strung-out field.
American Theorem’s long-awaited first stakes laurel advanced his record to 11-3-3-0, $291,967. The five-year-old had tired to sixth in the San Pasqual (G2) and Santa Anita H. (G1) and ninth in the April 2 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park in his past three.
“We’ve been trying him long and he’s been involved with fast paces and it didn’t work out,” Papaprodromou said. “I think he’s a great horse and like I’ve said, I love this horse.
“Our plan was to just sit right off of them and make one little run and it worked out perfect, like we planned it.”
“I love when a plan comes together,” Bravo said. “We really had high hopes for this horse, he had a couple of hiccups along the way, and (George) cut him back in distance. Look at him around the turn, it seemed like at any time he could jump on those horses and he did.”
American Theorem was bred by Sierra Farm in Kentucky and RNA’d for $190,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is the fourth stakes winner for his dam, the unraced Maria’s Mon mare Mighty Renee, who is responsible for Grade 3 vixen Mighty Caroline, Cyclogenisis, and Renee’s Queen as well as Japanese stakes-placed Viel Spass.
One race earlier in the Daytona, Hernandez had a more straightforward passage aboard even-money favorite Bran.
Trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing, Bran scored a couple of simultaneous firsts in the Daytona – his initial graded victory as well as a breakthrough on Santa Anita’s downhill turf. He was proven going 6 1/2 furlongs over the regular course in the April 10 Siren Lure S., but had yet to prevail on the unique gradients of the hillside. That was from a small sample size of two, however, and Bran answered any doubt on Sunday.
Charging right out of the gate, the French import never relinquished his advantage. Cal-bred class climber Burnin Turf, Bran’s nearest rival in the market at 7-5, was also his nearest pursuer early. Burnin Turf attended the favorite through the opening quarter in :21.96, but Bran got away by the half in :43.79.
Although the chasing trio of Burnin Turf, Majestic Eagle, and Homer Screen were in striking range down the stretch, none could pick up enough to threaten the front runner. Bran maintained a one-length margin while clocking about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.44.
Majestic Eagle headed Burnin Turf for second, and Homer Screen was another half-length astern in fourth on the inside. Homer Screen’s one-paced finish in his comeback, at a trip short of his best, should set him up for a forward move on the stretch-out. Kanderel lagged at the rear of the five-horse field throughout.
Bran’s scorecard stands at 19-6-4-3, $344,905. The dark bay was mostly an allowance campaigner in his homeland, but he was sixth to Suesa in the Prix Sigy (G3) and fourth in the Oct. 1 Prix Matchem. Exported after selling for $92,768 at Arqana’s Arc Sale last fall, the four-year-old gelding placed third in the Jan. 1 Joe Hernandez (G2) in his U.S. debut. Bran was exiting a runner-up effort in the TwinSpires Turf Sprint (G2) on Kentucky Oaks Day.
“It didn’t look like there was much speed in the race,” Sadler said following the Daytona, “but the nice thing about him is, he’s won both ways. He can be up close or he can lay off of them a little bit like he did last time at Churchill Downs. He’s a very honest horse. He doesn’t have a bad race in his form; he runs good all the time. We’ll freshen him up now, and the distances at Del Mar may not suit him well, so we’ll see.”
Bred by Lordship Stud in France, Bran is by Muhaarar and out of the King’s Best mare Best Intent. His second dam is classic-placed Group 2 victress Hydro Calido, who is also the ancestress of current Feilden S. romper and European classic contender Eydon. This is the all-star family of Machiavellian and Bago.
The 1-2 favorite in light of her front-running romp in the course-and-distance Providencia (G3), Cairo Memories switched to stalking tactics in the Honeymoon. Providencia runner-up Sterling Crest tried to turn the tables by beating her to the lead, but Cairo Memories and Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith simply used her as a target.
The Bob Hess Jr. pupil raced in second through fractions of :23.30, :47.29, and 1:11.37, then pounced when Island of Love circled alongside turning for home. Island of Love was staying with Cairo Memories until the final furlong. The favorite asserted her superiority by a measured 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:48.67 for 1 1/8 miles.
Island of Love’s stamina might have been stretched in this first try beyond a mile. Yet she had 1 1/2 lengths to spare over third-placer Ballet Dancing. Next came Sterling Crest, Ellamira, and Gold Dragon Queen. Fuente Ovejuna was scratched.
David A. Bernsen and Schroeder Farms’ Cairo Memories sports a mark of 7-4-1-0, $352,500, also reflecting a win in the Surfer Girl S. and a second in the Starlet (G1) at two. The $50,000 Keeneland September yearling is a daughter of Cairo Prince and the Indian Charlie mare Incarnate Memories. Hence Cairo Memories is a full sister to stakes victress Cariba and a half to the dam of Zandon, the Blue Grass (G1) hero and Kentucky Derby (G1) third. As those relations imply, she was bred by Brereton C. Jones.