Cal-Bred Fashionably Faces Class Test In Sunday’s Triple Bend

Fashionably Fast faces the toughest assignment of his storybook career Sunday in the Grade 2 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

A California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit, the five-year-old gelding has had 16 races, 15 of them restricted to state-breds.

In the Triple Bend, he faces open company, meaning horses bred from states other than California, like Kentucky, a bastion of blueblood prodigy and the epitome in producing world-class Thoroughbreds.

One of Fashionably Fast’s four foes is McKinzie, a five-year-old bred in the Blue Grass State. He has three G1 wins and earned $3,318,560.

On class alone, little wonder he is the 3-5 morning line favorite.

The Triple Bend for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs will mark only the second race against open company for Fashionably Fast, winner of his last six races, the last four stakes against state-breds.

Owned by long-time successful Golden State owner/breeder John Harris and associates Per Antonsen and John Nicoletti, Fashionably Fast will be making his first start since March 1, but has been working forwardly, with two bullet breezes among his most recent drills.

“This is his toughest race by far,” said trainer Dean Pederson, who got his license in 1985 and has a modest string of eight head at Santa Anita. “We didn’t anticipate being off this long. We had a race in mind for him before this but it was cancelled when there was no racing.

“We were either going to run in the Triple Bend or against Cal-breds in the Thor’s Echo on June 13, but Mr. Harris has another horse for that race (Desert Law), so we decided on the Triple Bend for Fashionably Fast. At this point, the horse has earned the right to be given a chance.”

Tiago Pereira has ridden Fashionably Fast in 15 of his 16 races, missing only the Harris Farms Stakes at Fresno in October 2018, when Frank Alvarado was aboard.

“I was having a hard time getting a rider to work a three-year-old maiden that hadn’t started,” Pederson recalled. “Patty Sterling, Tiago’s agent, said she’d help me out and the rest is history. That was the first horse Tiago ever rode for me.” Together, they have accounted for most of the chestnut’s career purse earnings of $449,745.

Pederson, a 58-year-old native of Union City in Northern California, is ambivalent about his bread winner’s future. “We’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “If running well in a Grade II against open company works out, it opens up avenues for us.

“If it doesn’t, we’ll reevaluate the situation as need be. There’s not a lot of pressure on us by any means. The horse is doing well and he deserves the opportunity to run.

“We’ve got very little to lose and hopefully we’ll have a lot to be thankful for afterwards.”

Asked if Fashionably Fast was the best horse he’s ever trained, Pederson pondered briefly and mentioned Harris owned and bred Now Victory, a nine-time winner including the G3 Bay Meadows Breeders’ Cup Handicap at 31-1 in 2007. Then he sealed the deal.

“Put it this way,” Pederson said. “I haven’t had too many that’ve won six in a row.”

The Triple Bend, race eight of nine with a 12:30 p.m. PT first post time: Flagstaff, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; Ax Man, Abel Cedillo, 8-1; Dark Vader, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Fashionably Fast, Tiago Pereira, 6-1; and McKinzie, Mike Smith, 3-5.

The post Cal-Bred Fashionably Faces Class Test In Sunday’s Triple Bend appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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