Recently Claimed Hembree Takes Joe Hernandez Stakes With Last-To-First Move Under Rosario

Claimed for $62,500 out of a one turn mile win at Churchill Downs Nov. 19, 7-year-old Hembree, in his 40th career start, rallied from last to take Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Joe Hernandez Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., covering 6 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:13.80.  In his first start for trainer Peter Miller and owner Tom Kagele, Hembree, who had routed on turf in 14 consecutive starts prior to his one turn dirt mile Nov. 19, collected his second career graded stakes win.

Last, about 6 ½ lengths off the lead heading to the three-furlong pole, Rosario hugged the rail and slipped through a narrow opening three sixteenths of a mile out and unleashed a powerful stretch run while repelling a stout late challenge from runner-up True Valour.

“Brilliant, it really was just a fantastic ride by Joel, that’s why he’s one of the world’s best,” said Miller.  “He’s a very fast horse, he runs fast figures and fast Beyers.  The question to me was, whether the six and a half was too short for him, but he answered that question today.”

Off at 5-1 in a field of seven older horses, Hembree paid $12.40, $6.20 and $3.60.

A Grade 2 stakes winner going six furlongs on turf at Woodbine at age 4, Hembree picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $927,371 while improving his overall mark to 40-8-10-8.

“Pete told me to let him be early and try and make one run with him,” said Rosario, who had ridden Hembree on four other occasions in New York, Florida and Kentucky, with his most recent partnership coming seven starts back on March 28 at Gulfstream Park.  “He broke well and I thought we were in a good spot, not too far off the lead.  He made a nice move around the turn and when that other horse came to him, he tried very hard.”

Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Irish-bred True Valour ran too good to lose as he rallied four-wide through the stretch to finish 3 ¼ lengths in front of Blitzkrieg.  Off at 7-1, True Valour paid $7.40 and $5.00.

Blitzkrieg, who had been routing on turf in five out of his last six starts, made the lead briefly a furlong out and checked in third, a half length clear of Texas Wedge.  Off at 4-1 with Victor Espinoza, he paid $4.00 to show.

Fractions on the race were 21.56, 44.13 and 1:07.95.

The Joe Hernandez is named in honor of the original Voice of Santa Anita, who called 15,587 consecutive races from the track’s opening on Dec. 25, 1934, until he collapsed while calling what would be his final race on Jan. 27, 1972.

First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m.  ​All of Santa Anita’s races can be watched free of charge at and fans can watch and wager at

The post Recently Claimed Hembree Takes Joe Hernandez Stakes With Last-To-First Move Under Rosario appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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