Newgrange Surges to Victory in G2 San Pasqual

January 29, 2023

Newgrange powers home to win the San Pasqual under Juan Hernandez (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif.— Although he looked beaten turning for home, Phil D’Amato’s Newgrange surged when called up and took Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita by one length over favored Hopper. Ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, Newgrange got a mile and one eighth in 1:49.97.

With Hopper and Parnelli battling on the front end, Newgrange went up to challenge Hopper as the field turned up the backside. Leaving the half mile pole, Parnelli took up the chase and with a quarter mile to run, Newgrange found himself shuffled back and about two lengths off Hopper, but Hernandez sat chilly with an ace to play.

“I just left him alone when those horses got away from us a little bit, he kind of idled by himself,” said Hernandez, the meet’s runaway leading rider who scored his third win on the day and his seventh added money victory. “I was hoping those horses would come back to me, but they weren’t. I was riding really hard and this horse showed he’s got a lot of heart.

“Turning for home, he was lugging in a little bit, but when he straightened up, he gave me another gear and got the job done.”

A two-time graded stakes winner early last year at age three, Newgrange was idle since finishing third in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes Nov. 27 at Del Mar. Off at 4-1 in a field of nine older horses, Newgrange paid $10.40, $4.00 and $3.60.

“I was confident at the three eighths pole, I was definitely not confident at the quarter pole, but I just kind of saw Juan stay with him and reengage,” said D’Amato. “This horse does this in some of his races, he likes to kind of disengage at the three eighths pole and then come back on.

“He did that last time. I told Juan this horse is probably going to do that and don’t give up, just stay with him. He did that and he got the job done.”

Originally trained by Bob Baffert but sold privately following his fourth start, a sixth place finish in last year’s Grade II Rebel Stakes on Feb. 26, Newgrange is owned by David Bernsen, LLC, Little Red Feather Racing and Rockingham Ranch.

Newgrange to the winner’s circle (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

In his fourth start for D’Amato, Newgrange, a 4-year-old colt by Violence out of the Empire Maker mare Bella Chianti, picked up his third graded stakes victory while improving his overall mark to 8-5-0-2. With the winner’s share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $747,334.

Trained by Baffert and ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Hopper, idle since winning the Grade III Affirmed Stakes here on June 11 of last year, was off at 7-5 and paid $3.20 and $2.80.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Parnelli pressed the pace issue throughout and finished just a head behind Hopper. Off at 18-1, Parnelli paid $7.20 to show.

Fractions on the San Pasqual were 22.67, 47.36, 1:11.49 and 1:36.70.

(Hernandez would go on to again team with D’Amato and Little Red Feather Racing for victory in Saturday’s ninth and final race, bagging his fourth win on the day and his 25th of the meet, 16 clear of Edwin Maldonado’s nine wins).

Racing resumes with first post time for a nine-race card on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Great article by @Pastthewire

David Mussad @DavidMussad View testimonials