Longshot Indian Peak Victorious In California Flag At Santa Anita

Longshot Indian Peak settled nicely off the early pace and mounted a furious stretch rally under Juan Hernandez to outrun favored North County Guy by a head in Sunday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. In his third start for Peter Miller and his first try down the hillside turf course, Indian Peak got about 6 ½ furlongs in 1:12.52.

The California Flag Handicap, named for the High Card Ranch’s homebred millionaire who won the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, is part of the lucrative CTBA sponsored Golden State Series for California-bred or sired 3-year-olds and up.

Breaking from the far outside in a field of nine, Indian Peak was sixth, about five lengths off the lead at the half-mile mark while well within himself. Six-wide and on the move at the dirt crossing, Indian Peak pinned his ears and outran North County Guy late in a thriller.

“He felt really comfortable, he’s a nice horse,” said Hernandez, who won yesterday’s California Distaff Handicap run down the hill with Warren’s Showtime. “He tries all the time. I rode him before, maybe three or four times (when based at Golden Gate Fields, dating back to December of 2019) and he’s the kind of horse that always comes with a run at the end.

“Peter Miller told me to just sit there and make one run and then before the quarter pole, before we crossed the dirt, he started running, so I just let him run. He picked the lead right after we crossed the dirt and we were fighting the inside and outside (horses), but we made it…”

Most recently a well-beaten fifth by North County Guy in 1 1/16-mile turf allowance as the 7-5 favorite on Aug. 20 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., Indian Peak was off at 16-1 and paid $35.80, $11.20, and $5.40.

A 4-year-old California-bred gelding by Comic Strip out of the Roar mare Ms. Booty, Indian Peak, who was originally conditioned by Golden Gate Fields-based Quinn Howey, is currently owned by Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable.

A winner of Santa Anita’s Snow Chief Stakes in only his third start at age three on June 20, 2020, Indian Peak registered his second stakes win today and improved his overall race record to 20-6-3-1. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $333,532.

The 7-5 favorite, North County Guy ran too good to lose, finishing a head in front of Unbridled Ethos. Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, North County Guy paid $3.40 and $2.60.

With Ricky Gonzalez up, Unbridled Ethos was off at 9-1 and paid $5.00 to show while finishing 1 ¼ lengths clear of Whooping Jay, who lacked racing room turning for home.

Fractions on the race were :22.00, :44.06, and 1:06.65.

Live racing resumes with first post time for an eight-race card on Friday at 1 p.m. Pacific.

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