Sponsored by the CTBA, the race is part of the lucrative Golden State Series
ARCADIA, Calif. — Trainer John Sadler’s classy Galilean cut back in distance, added blinkers and survived a stewards inquiry to prevail in Sunday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap at Santa Anita. Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, the 4-year-old colt by Uncle Mo was up to nip Ultimate Bango by a head while getting 5 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:02.13.
Away alertly from his outside post, Galilean tracked pacesetter Mikes Tiznow and Ricardo Gonzalez into and around the far turn and was one length off of him a quarter mile out. As Mikes Tiznow began to shorten stride, Galilean drifted inward some, causing Gonzalez to steady at the sixteenth pole and from there, Galilean was able to outrun Ultimate Bango late.
“Unfortunately, my horse didn’t want to switch leads and he was hanging in the whole way,” said Rispoli, who had ridden him for the first time at Del Mar on Aug. 23. “I was obligated to just ride it with him and to try to make him as straight as I can, but he’s a huge horse. I got (the win) because he was the (best) horse in the race.”
Fifth to world class turf miler Mo Forza in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap on turf Aug. 23, Galilean was off as the 3-2 favorite in a field of five California-bred or sired three-year-olds and up and paid $5.00, $3.00 and $2.20.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Denise Barker, William Sandbrook, John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith, Galilean, who is out of the El Prado mare Fresia, notched his sixth win, all stakes, in his 12th career start. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he now has earnings of $577,098.
“He’s a really good horse,” said Sadler who took over training duties five starts back on Feb. 29, 2020. “This is the third stakes we’ve won with him… He’s got so much class. We changed things up today, running short, but we added blinkers and as you saw, he’s got a ton of natural speed. Long range, it’s exciting because these Uncle Mo’s are becoming great stud prospects and that’s very encouraging for him.
“We’re excited about the new turf chute here at Santa Anita and we’ll look at running him in a stake going six and a half (furlongs) this winter. We’ll probably stick with the state-bred program, there’s just so much money there.”
Ultimate Bango, who was also adding blinkers in his first start for Mark Glatt, tracked Galilean to the far turn, kept inside of Mikes Tiznow through the stretch drive while making the lead inside the furlong pole, but couldn’t keep the winner safe late. Off at 9-2 with Abel Cedillo, Ultimate Bango paid $5.00 and $3.20 while finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of Rookie Mistake.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Rookie Mistake finished well at 9-1 and paid $4.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.71, 45.09 and 56.29.
Named for the Hi Card Ranch-bred winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, the California Flag is for eligible California-bred or sired 3-year-olds and up and is part of the lucrative Golden State Series, which is sponsored by the CTBA.
California Flag Handicap Replay
Photo: Galilean. Credit: Benoit