Fast Buck Never Headed in G3 Daytona

May 27, 2023

Fast Buck (between horses) prevails in the Daytona under Hector Berrios (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Ridden for the first time by Hector Berrios, Fast Buck broke like a shot and was never headed in taking Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita by a neck. Trained by Cesar DeAlba, Fast Buck got about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:11.68.

A gate-to-wire second condition allowance winner going six furlongs out of Santa Anita’s turf chute, Fast Buck rocketed through an opening quarter mile in 21.05, and a half mile in 42.62 as held a six length advantage at the quarter pole en route to an interior split going six furlongs in 1:05.58.

“The trainer told me to just keep moving him and not let him think,” said Berrios. “That’s what I did, I took him to the lead and I kept him moving until the wire. I knew I was the winner, the last eighth, I came out a bit to let the other horse (Whatmakessammyrun) catch up a bit and my horse responded really well.”

Off the board in two prior hillside engagements, Fast Buck, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Gallant Son, was off at 2-1 in a field of seven older horses and paid $6.20, $3.20 and $2.60.

Fast Buck to the winner’s circle after a game victory (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

“He made me nervous, he was going fast,” said DeAlba, who got his first-ever Santa Anita stakes win. “But that was the plan, to go to the lead and see if we can hang on. If you (watch) maybe the last sixteenth or the last eighth, Hector Berrios kind of moved him out to look for the other horse and he said once he saw (him), he dug back in. He is a good rider.”

Owned by Zephyr Racing, LLC and Cesar DeAlba, Fast Buck, who is out of the Falstaff mare Zorra Roja, got his first stakes win and his fifth win from nine overall starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $275,474.

The favorite at 3-2 with Joe Bravo, Whatmakessammyrun couldn’t get up in time and paid $2.80 and $2.40 while finishing a head in front of Lovesick Blues.

Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Lovesick Blues was up for third money by one length over Burnin Turf and paid $3.40 to show while off at 9-1.

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