FREESGOOD WINS PHIL D. SHEPHERD STAKES
Pomona, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2008) - Freesgood, ridden by Martin Garcia, got up in the final strides to win Saturday's $61,750 Phil D. Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park, beating pacesetting Tice by a half-length in 1:44.22 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Tice, handled by Martin Pedroza, immediately went for the lead, carving out solid fractions of 23.82, 47.88, 1:12.60 and 1:37.38. He still had a length advantage into the stretch, but Freesgood, who stalked the leader throughout, was able to collar him in the final 50 yards for the victory.
"At the three-eighths pole, I thought I was done," said Garcia. "On the turns he would lose ground, but then he really ran down the stretch. The trainer (Bill Currin) told me to ride him with confidence and I did."
For Freesgood the Shepherd victory was his fourth in 21 starts and he has now banked more than $275,000.
Freesgood returned $8.60 for the upset.
Gregorian Bay finished third, while the 3-2 favorite Frank The Barber was fourth and Norway House fifth.
Jockeys Tyler Baze and Michael Martinez, both thrown from their mounts on opening day in the fourth race, will be out of action for awhile
"Tyler jammed his neck pretty good when he hit the ground head first after falling off his horse (Yoursmynanours)," said his agent Ron Ebanks. "He's really stiff and sore, so I told him to take the next 10 days off and go relax.
"Tyler may ride the final weekend of Fairplex (Sept. 20-21) in the stakes races if he feels well enough. We thought we could make a run at Martin Pedroza (for the jockey title), but it wasn't to be."
Martinez is extremely body sore after falling off his mount, Just Miss.
"Nothing was broken, but Michael was complaining of pain in his upper and lower back," explained his agent Alex Procel Crowley. "He'll be off for about week and must be cleared by the doctor before he can resume riding."
In Saturday's fourth race jockeys Martin Garcia and Matt Garcia, also were tossed from their mounts in a horrific looking spill.
Russian Liquor, handled by Martin Garcia, was on the lead entering the stretch when he suddenly fell, sending Garcia heavily to the main track.
A trailing Dawn's Day, ridden by Martin Pedroza, literally jumped over the fallen Russian Liquor, avoiding a further calamity, but Cotati with Matt Garcia aboard couldn't avoid the prone Russian Liquor and plowed right into him.
Martin Garcia came back to ride the very next race while Matt Garcia was taken to nearby Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, but was later released with minor facial lacerations.
Those backing 1-5 favorite Dash Dot Dash, ridden confidently by Martin Pedroza, never worried as the 2-year-old filly won Saturday's $65,000 Bustles and Bows Stakes wire to wire in 1:18.54 for the 6 ½ furlongs.
Chilliwack, who chased the winner throughout, was second with Amina third.
"She's a pretty good filly," said winning trainer Vladimir Cerin. "When you have Martin riding (at Fairplex), you don't have to worry. He doesn't make any mistakes.
"We want to run her long, so we might come back in the Black Swan Stakes (Sept.17). I wouldn't be afraid to run her in the (Grade I $250,000) Oak Leaf Stakes (on Sept. 27) at Santa Anita."