Shady Tiger Prevails in Snow Chief

May 25, 2024

Shady Tiger a narrow winner of the Snow Chief (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— In his first time racing around two turns, Shady Tiger gutted out a narrow victory in Saturday’s $125,000 Snow Chief Stakes presented by Citi National Bank Saturday at Santa Anita.

In the 1 1/8-mile turf contest for 3-year-old California-breds, Shady Tiger under Juan Hernandez prevailed by a half-length over a fast-closing Two By Four (5-1) with Hector Berrios up. It was another neck back in third to longshot Stolen Treasure (33-1) and jockey Umberto Rispoli.

“He made me work. It wasn’t easy,” Hernandez said. “I was fighting and riding all the way to the end. It came down to the wire, but we got the job done.”

Shady Tiger, who broke from the rail, and Size Does Matter raced virtually side-by-side on the front-end all the way into deep stretch after solid fractions of 23.31, 47.94 and 1:12.68. Shady Tiger, the lone stakes winner in the field, gradually edged clear of his pace rival as they neared the wire. He then had just enough left to hold off Two By Four, who was second-last with just a quarter mile remaining.

“My horse was really aggressive out of the gate because he came out of shorter distances,” Hernandez said. “Last time he ran 6 ½ furlongs. He relaxed pretty well. My plan was to stay behind the speed, but no one wanted to go. Since I was right there, I just let him go…turning for home, he felt that competition on the outside, knew it was time to go and took off.”

Trained by Phil D’Amato, Shady Tiger won in a final time of 1:49.70 on firm turf. He is 5: 4-1-0 with $241,400 in earnings and was the slight 2-1 second choice in the wagering. Favorite Curlin’s Kaos, who finished seventh, had $3,996 more in the win pool than Shady Tiger.

“He answered the (distance) question,” D’Amato said of the winner. “He’s a gutsy horse. He had that horse attached to him and he was able to kick free in the stretch and get home. “

A homebred for Rusty Brown, Shady Tiger entered with three straight sprint wins, which included a statebred allowance on turf Feb. 17 and the Echo Eddie Stakes for statebreds on dirt April 6.

Shady Tiger paid $6.60, $4.20 and $4.20. Two By Four returned $5.80 and $4.20 and Stolen Treasure paid $11.20.

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