Big City Lights Shines In Fasig-Tipton Futurity At Santa Anita

Although much the best, heavily favored Big City Lights had to survive a lengthy steward’s inquiry in winning Sunday’s $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Futurity at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Trained by Luis Mendez and ridden by Juan Hernandez, Big City Lights won gate to wire by 7 ¼ lengths while getting five furlongs in 58.20.

As expected, Big City Lights was in front at once from his number three post position, but 7-2 second choice Street Art, who broke from the rail with Kent Desormeaux, was a close second by about three-quarters of a length. Heading to the half-mile pole, Desormeaux took up sharply, losing all position as things got tight.

With Big City Lights, a California-bred colt by Mr. Big, completely dominant on the front end, Street Art checked in fourth, beaten 15 ¼ lengths.

As soon as the field passed under the wire, the steward’s inquiry sign went up and Desormeaux was very animated in his telephone conversation with stewards Ron Church, Luis Jauregui, and Kim Sawyer.

After a thorough review, the stewards ruled that Street Art attempted to enter an opening without sufficient clearance and they let the original order of finish stand.

A rousing 12 ½ length first-out maiden winner versus statebreds going 4 ½ furlongs on May 2, Big City Lights was off at 1-5 in a field of five juveniles and paid $2.40, $2.10, and $2.10.

“I broke on top and (Street Art) didn’t break,” said Hernandez. “Before I came over, I checked and didn’t see anybody. It looked like he was trying to get in, and there was room, but if you look at the replay, it looked like his horse got spooked and didn’t want to come through. When I asked him at the quarter pole, he took off again, he’s a nice horse.”

Owned by William Peeples, Big City Lights, who is out of the Exchange Rate mare Champagne Exchange and sold for $22,000 at the Fasig-Tipton California Fall Yearling Sale, picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $96,600.

“It feels good,” said Mendez, whose horses finished one-two-three. “I’ve never done that before and especially in a stake. I want to say thank you to the owner, Bill Peeples, and everyone on the team.”

Bochombo, who was a non-threatening second into and around the far turn, was off at 11-1 and paid $3.80 and $2.80. Ridden by Abel Cedillo, he finished second, 5 ¼ lengths in front of his stablemate Buehler’s Day Off.

Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Buehler’s Day Off was off at 15-1 and paid $3.40 to show while finishing 2 ¾ lengths clear of Street Art. Fractions on the race were :21.96 and :45.74.

Jockey Juan Hernandez was happy with Big City Light’s performance. “This horse is improving a lot. Last time he broke a little slow, but today he broke really sharp and I was clear in front, probably three or four jumps after. Something happened back there but I was clear all the time. I just let my horse run, because that’s what he wants.”

Trainer Luis Mendez was thrilled about having the race’s top three finishers. “It feels good. One-two-three! I’ve never done that before and especially in a stake. I want to say thank you to the owner, Bill Peeples, and everyone on the team. Thanks a lot, Mr. John Brocklebank, for bringing these babies to the barn. I really don’t know what else to say other than I’m really happy.”

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