Newgrange Cruises Home a Winner in G2 San Antonio

December 26, 2023

Newgrange takes the San Antonio (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Ridden for the first time by four-time Eclipse Award champion Irad Ortiz, Jr., Phil D’Amato’s Newgrange stalked a speedy Brickyard Ride around the far turn, took command while wide-out and went on to cruise to an easy 2 ¼ length win in Tuesday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes, stopping the clock for a mile and one sixteenth in 1:42.79 as he provided D’Amato with a stakes double on Santa Anita’s Classic Meet opening day.

As expected, multiple stakes winning sprinter Brickyard Ride showed the way early in the San Antonio, setting fractions of 23.26, 47.31, 1:11.11 and 1:36.10. Although headed by the winner a quarter mile out, Brickyard Ride battled on gamely at the rail but tired to finish third, beaten a half length for second money by Mixto.

A winner of the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes four starts back here on Jan. 28, Newgrange was off at 7-2 in a field of five 3-year-olds and up and paid $9.60, $3.20 and $3.00.

Owned by David Bernsen, LLC, Little Red Feather Racing and Rockingham Ranch, Newgrange, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Violence out of the Empire Maker mare Bella Chianti, collected his fourth graded stakes win and his sixth overall victory from 12 starts.

Five-wide turning for home, Mixto, although last coming to the furlong pole, kept to his task and proved second best on the day under Antonio Fresu. Off at 9-1, he paid $6.80 and $3.80.

Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Brickyard Ride, off at 5-1, paid $4.20 to show while finishing a half length in front of Argentine-bred Subsanador, who was making his U.S. debut as the 6-5 favorite.

Stilleto Boy, winner of this year’s Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, was never a factor and checked in last with no apparent excuses.



IRAD ORTIZ, JR., NEWGRANGE, WINNER: “What can I say about the horse? He did everything, I was a good passenger. He was going perfectly the whole way and when I asked him to get, he responded. Honestly, I didn’t know the horse, but I talked to Phil, and he told me exactly what I had to do I think, because everything went the right way. He told me to stay close and not to go head in head with the other horse. He’s that kind of horse that you have to kind of help him to give it to you, but that wasn’t the case today he was going so good. I didn’t even have to move on top of him. At the quarter pole I just asked him, and he started going.”


PHILIP D’AMATO, NEWGRANGE, WINNER: “This horse is starting to round into form. I think the long layoff did him some good. I know he likes Santa Anita. He was better the other day and he put it all together today. Irad (Ortiz Jr.) rode a perfect race. He stayed right behind Brickyard Ride and when it came time to run, he did the rest. I think we will point him toward the San Pasqual next.”


AVERY JOHNSON, NBA AND COLLEGE BASKETBALL ANALYST FOR CBS SPORTS: “I have been to Santa Anita several times. I’m a Breeders’ Cup Ambassador so I was recently here for the Breeders’ Cup. I have been in and around horse racing for forty plus years, growing up by the Fairgrounds in New Orleans. This coming year the 150th Kentucky Derby will be my 15th Kentucky Derby. My first one was Silver Charm back in 1997, so I’m a big fan. I love it because I can bring my family. We are just excited to be here.”

NOTES: The winning owners are David A. Bernsen, LLC, Little Red Feather Racing and Rockingham Ranch.

An amazing article on an amazing horse who broke the heart of horse racing…

Amy Nesse (@horsegirlamy16) View testimonials