ARCADIA, Calif.—Reddam Racing’s Absolutely Zero opted to take on the boys Saturday at Santa Anita and she answered the call, turning back a determined effort from her stablemate Tahoma to take the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Futurity by one length, getting five furlongs in 59.09 under Mario Gutierrez.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, who was out of town to saddle his multiple stakes winning Hot Rod Charlie to a second-place finish today at Monmouth Park, Absolutely Zero, a California-bred filly by Reddam and O’Neill’s 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, could have run earlier in the day against fillies in the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Debutante, but the decision was made to face males at the same distance.
Quick from the blocks and head and head into and around the far turn with Midnight Lightning, Absolutely Zero showed tremendous heart as she repelled a stiff challenge to her outside from Tahoma the final eighth of a mile.
“She’s not the fastest out of the gate (but) today, she broke really well,” said Gutierrez. “She broke with them and I tried to maintain my position and find my way to keep her in there (and) she responded really well.
“She’s very gutsy. She definitely is a fighter and showed big improvement. She can only get better. The fact that she’s running with the boys, you know that’s what is impressive about her right now…”
An impressive 1 ¾ length first-out maiden winner versus open company going 4 ½ furlongs May 21, Absolutely Zero was off as the 4-5 favorite versus eight males today and paid $3.80, $2.60 and $2.10.
“Nyquist is top five in the country, no doubt, if not top three,” said O’Neill assistant Steve Rothblum in regard to the winner’s sire. “I know we’ve had quite a few by him and every one of them can run. There are no bums in the group, which is amazing for a sire to consistently reproduce really nice horses and he’s doing that now. Not just with us, he’s doing it all over the country.
“I know we really regard Tahoma very highly. When they turned for home and he came at her, I thought that was a really good test and she responded so well. I mean, she dug in, not an ounce of quit in her and just kept on going on about her business and galloped away. I think it’s a testament to her quality.”
Out of Reddam’s multiple stakes winning Square Eddie mare How About Zero, Absolutely Zero, now unbeaten in two starts, picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $112,260.
Tahoma, who was 2018 Triple Crown Champion Justify’s first North American foal to race when he broke his maiden going 4 ½ furlongs here on May 22, improved markedly today but was second best. Ridden by Juan Hernandez, he was the second choice at 3-1 and paid $3.40 and $2.80.
A New York-bred first time starter, John Sadler’s Pure Fire rallied well from mid-pack to be third by one length over Turf Paradise invader Pop d’Oro. Off at 6-1 with Tyler Baze, Pure Fire paid $4.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.36 and 46.25. The Futurity final time of 59.09 was nearly a second slower than first time starter Stone Silent’s 58.28 in the Fasig-Tipton Debutante run earlier.
First post time for an 11-race card on closing day, Sunday, is at 1 p.m.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo by Benoit