FRENCH TEENAGE JOCKEY PRAT SCORES FIRST U.S. WIN WITH $103 STUNNER TO SET THE TONE FOR PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $69,998

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2010) – Flavien Prat, a 17-year-old apprentice rider from France, registered his first United States victory Friday with a $103.40 stunner in the third race at Santa Anita that led to a Pick Six carryover of $69,998 into Saturday’s nine-race program.

With his 12th mount at the meet after having twice finished second, Prat drove Heavenly n’ Free though an opening on the rail to defeat Blame the Wine by a neck after rallying from last in the 6 ½-furlong optional claiming event for fillies and mares. Prat’s mount was so lightly regarded in the field of five that her 50-1 odds dwarfed those of the next longest shot, who was 7-1.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2010) – Flavien Prat, a 17-year-old apprentice rider from France, registered his first United States victory Friday with a $103.40 stunner in the third race at Santa Anita that led to a Pick Six carryover of $69,998 into Saturday’s nine-race program.

With his 12th mount at the meet after having twice finished second, Prat drove Heavenly n’ Free though an opening on the rail to defeat Blame the Wine by a neck after rallying from last in the 6 ½-furlong optional claiming event for fillies and mares. Prat’s mount was so lightly regarded in the field of five that her 50-1 odds dwarfed those of the next longest shot, who was 7-1.

Prat’s shocker set the tone for the afternoon as Vikkielee won the next race to pay $31.80 before Expresso Springs returned $11.20 after capturing the fifth. When a favorite, 6-5 Alphie’s Bet, finally won the sixth, the Pick Six carryover already seemed a fait accompli. Indeed, there were no Pick Six tickets on Friday with five winners, much less six.

The day’s featured seventh race, a $51,216 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles, went to 9-1 shot Diferentkindagreat, who was racing beyond 6 ½ furlongs for the first time in his fifth start. He covered the distance in 1:42.81.

Jose Valdivia Jr. sent the 4-year-old Canadian Frontier gelding to the front at the start and he gamely withstood all challenges to emerge with a neck victory over Never. Acclamation, the 3-2 favorite following third place finishes in the Grade II San Gabriel Handicap and Grade I Hollywood Derby, finished third again, one length behind Never.

Claimed out of his first start by trainer Dan Hendricks for $32,000 on behalf of the partnership of John Pagano, K.B. Sareen and Larry Smith, Diferentkindagreat gained a purse of $28,800 to elevate his earnings to $63,560 from a 3-1-0 record in his five starts.

He paid $21.80, $9.40 and $5. Never, ridden by Garrett Gomez, returned $6.80 and $3.80. Favored Acclamation, with David Flores aboard, paid $2.80 to show.

“He broke very sharply,” Valdivia said of Diferentkindagreat’s triumph as a router. “He’s got a long, nice stride, and the pace of the race made him settle. He can really run and I think he just keeps getting better and better.”

Santa Anita will offer an extended weekend of racing through Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with Saturday’s nine-race program featuring three graded stakes races including the Grade II San Fernando Stakes, the Grade II Santa Ysabel Stakes and the Grade III San Rafael Stakes for 3-year-olds. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

The Pick Six, which commences with the fourth race, will include the fifth-race Santa Ynez and the seventh-race San Fernando. She’s Funomenal is the 9-5 morning line favorite among six 3-year-old fillies in the Santa Ynez. Papa Clem is the 3-1 choice among eight 4-year-olds in the San Fernando.

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