ARCADIA, Calif.— Idle since an emphatic maiden score in mid-November, Bass Stables’ homebred Sumter will try two turn and stakes competition for the first time as he heads a field of 11 sophomores going one mile on turf in Saturday’s $100,000 Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trained by Richard Mandella, Sumter, who is by War Front, out of the More Than Ready mare A Little Bit Sassy, was an ultra impressive 3 ¼ length maiden winner going five furlongs over the Del Mar turf on Nov. 14 as the even money favorite.
Well within himself late, he appears primed for a huge effort in what will be his fifth start and first stakes appearance. With Flavien Prat opting to stick with Sumter over Handy Dandy, he could go as the post time favorite.
Owned by Perry Bass II and Ramona Bass, Sumter was flattered by the fact the Brian Koriner-trained Who’s Candy, second to him on Nov. 14, came back to crush 11 California-bred maidens by 3 ¼ lengths going six furlongs on turf here Jan. 1.
An impressive one mile turf allowance winner in his most recent start, trainer Ruben Alvarado’s Handy Dandy has won two out of his last three starts at a mile on grass and would appear to have a huge chance in his second stakes appearance.
An impressive 2 ¼ length maiden winner going one mile on turf three starts back on Nov. 28 at Del Mar, Handy Dandy came back to run a close third in the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes on Jan. 2. Ridden for the first time since Oct. 31 by Prat, Handy Dandy, off as the 2-5 favorite in a one mile turf allowance Jan. 23, rallied strongly for a 1 ½ length score. Owned by Altamira Racing Stable, CYBT, Marc Lantzman and Michael Nentwig, Handy Dandy, a Florida-bred gelding by Fury Kapcori, has two wins from five starts and earnings of $80,600. With Prat riding Sumter back, Handy Dandy will be ridden for the first time by Edwin Maldonado.
An upset maiden winner sprinting on turf, trainer Keith Desormeaux’s Epoch will stretch out for the first time in his third career start while Ryan Hanson’s well-seasoned Barsabas, a close second in a Grade III stakes three starts back, will try stakes competition for the third time and be ridden by Tyler Baze. Hand ridden through the lane by Ryan Curatolo, the Keith Desormeaux-trained Epoch prevailed by a neck over odds-on favorite Mo Gold in his second start, a 6 ½ furlong turf maiden race run out of Santa Anita’s turf chute on Jan. 30.
With a Pasadena-best last-out Beyer Speed Figure of 83, Epoch is a very interesting commodity who will be stretching out for the first time in his third career start. By Mastery out of the Elusive Quality mare Extravaganza, Epoch is owned by Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Keith Desormeaux.
Michael McCarthy’s Crosby Beach comes off a career-best performance while Phil D’Amato’s Irish import Doitforandrew is another who merits respect.
Tenacious on the front end, Michael McCarthy’s Crosby Beach prevailed by 1 ½ lengths in a mile and one eighth turf maiden race here on Jan. 23 and is the only horse in the field cutting back in distance. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Randy Ip, this bay colt by Gormely has routed in all four of his races and with a career-best 74 Beyer to his credit, will be ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez.
Trainer Phil D’Amato, who’s held a hot hand with Irish imports the past several years, will send out Irish-bred gelding Doitforandrew, who won his final two Irish starts on Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 and will be making his U.S. debut in what will be his ninth career start. With top turf rider Umberto Rispoli engaged, Doitforandrew is an intriguing commodity who sports three works over Santa Anita’s inner dirt training track, the most recent a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Feb. 13.
Owned by Michael House, Doitforandrew posted two wins, a second and two thirds from eight Irish starts dating back to April 21.
A gelding by Tale of the Cat who was purchased as a Keeneland September Yearling for $22,000, Barsabas is the leading money earner in the Pasadena field with $86,420 from an overall mark of 9-2-3-2.
A maiden $32,000 claiming winner going 5 ½ furlongs on dirt July 18, he’s found a home on turf for Hanson, with solid efforts in his last four starts. Second, beaten a half length going a mile on grass three starts back in the Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes Nov. 28, he was then fifth in the ungraded Eddie Logan Jan. 2. Owned by Hanson and Christopher Drakos, Barsabas comes off a big second, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Handy Dandy in a one mile turf allowance Jan. 23.
THE PASADENA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 9 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
Red Road—Ricardo Gonzalez—120
Crosby Beach—Juan Hernandez—120
Fast Draw Munnings—Victor Espinoza—124
Don’t Swear Dave—Joe Bravo—120
Handy Dandy—Edwin Maldonado—120
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.
Santa Anita Press Release (Edited)
Photo: Sumter breaks his maiden at Del Mar (Benoit Photo)