Stay Hot Builds Steam for Baffle Win

February 17, 2024

Stay Hot (outside) scores in the Baffle under Antonio Fresu (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Last in the run down Santa Anita’s storied hillside turf, Peter Eurton’s Stay Hot was just up to win Saturday’s $100,000 Baffle Stakes by a head under Antonio Fresu, as he got about 6 ½ furlongs in 1:13.04.

The Baffle is named for Santa Anita’s longtime hillside turf course record holder who was owned by Frank McMahon and trained by John Longden. 

One of four runners shortening up from one mile on turf, Stay Hot was next to last and on the move, about 4 ½ lengths off Hedwig approaching the quarter pole at the dirt crossing. Fresu then guided his mount four-deep and was all-out to run down Heart Headed and Juan Hernandez on the money.

A winner of the Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at one mile on turf Dec. 3 at Del Mar, Stay Hot was the 2-1 favorite today among a field of seven sophomores and paid $6.60, $3.20 and $2.40.

A bay ridgling by the War Front stallion Summer Front, out of the Smart Strike mare Etsu, Stay Hot was purchased as a yearling for $130,000 and is owned by Burns Racing, LLC, Exline-Border Racing, LLC, SAF Racing, the Estate of Brereton Jones, Hudock and Dan William.

In getting his second stakes win, Stay Hot now has three wins from four tries on turf and is 6-3-0-1 overall. With today’s winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $176,940.

Third at the rail, two lengths off the lead as the field came onto the turf turning for home, Heart Headed unleashed a furious stretch rally and ran too good to lose. Trained by John Sader, he was the second choice at 5-2 and paid $3.80 and $3.20 while finishing a head in front of longshot Charge for Gold.

Trained by Phil Oviedo and ridden by Ricky Gonzalez, Charge for Gold vied for the early lead with Hedwig and kept to his task gamely to finish third by a half-length over Final Boss. Off at 10-1, Charge for Gold paid $4.00 to show.

Fractions on the race were 21.91, 44.25 and 1:07.12.

$100,000 Baffle Stakes Quotes

Jockey Quotes

Fresu and Stay Hot visit the winner’s circle (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Antonio Fresu, Stay Hot, Winner: “It was his first time going down the hill. He’s a miler so today I think the key was to let him settle where he was happy and getting him into a nice rhythm the first part. I know he has a good kick. He handled the crossing really well. He did good, but I don’t think the horse was very fit, he had a little break after Del Mar, and I think he got a little tired at the end. It was pretty impressive, because it was a good field and he showed that he has a lot of ability.” 

Trainer Quotes

Peter Eurton, Stay Hot, Winner: “I was kind of watching where he was at and I thought ‘Well, he’s got a lot to do,’ and then he had to swing wide to not take any chances where he wouldn’t be able to get through and I think it took its toll and little bit, but he fought and got a little tired but the result was well. 

“I do appreciate the fact that Antonio (Fresu) came here. We have a lot of great riders here and he is definitely one of them.”

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