COMPARI OVERPOWERS FOES IN CRYSTAL WATER FOR FIFTH IN ROW

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2010) – After finishing third in his racing debut, 4-year-old gelding Compari powerhoused to his fifth straight victory Sunday with a stunning 3 ¼-length triumph in Santa Anita’s 13th running of the $100,000 Crystal Water Handicap for California-breds at one mile over a “yielding” turf course.

With Garrett Gomez gaining his fourth riding victory of the afternoon, the 13-10 favorite took command at once, took a breather rounding the far turn before spurting away from 19-10 second choice Liberian Freighter to complete the journey in 1:35, with a strong final eighth of 11.74.

Enriched, ridden by Michael Baze, gained the place, one-half length ahead of Swift Winds, with Alonso Quinonez aboard, in the field of seven. Liberian Freighter faded to fifth. Red Sun – who races for Harris Farms, part of Compari’s ownership team – was a late morning scratch.

It was the third stakes victory for Compari, a homebred son of Redattore trained by Marty Jones for Harris Farms, Donald Valpredo and John Nicoletti. The winning purse of $60,000 boosted his earnings in six races to $332,640.

Compari paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.60. The prices on Enriched were $4.80 and $3.40. Swift Winds paid $4.20 to show.

Gomez said he had expected more pressure during Sunday’s early running. “When we came out of the gate,” he said, “I was really surprised when I looked over and saw that nobody was really intent on going to the lead. Marty told me to just play it by ear, so I decided to go ahead and send him. They left me alone, so it was great.”

Compari dictated the early tempo while racing through fractions of 23.67, 47.73, 1:11.69 and 1:23.26.

“We were concerned about the soft turf, the fact he had been away a while, and that he hadn’t gone two turns in a long time,” said Gomez. “He’s improved so much since I rode him in the Snow Chief (April 25, 2009, at Hollywood Park). Just the way he does things during the race. He’s turned into a good horse, and he’s become more professional.”

“Garrett rode a great race. . .it was a great ride,” said Jones. “The horse has already won going a mile and an eighth, so I think he’ll go further.” The trainer indicated that Compari might try Grade II competition next. He mentioned the $150,000 Arcadia Handicap at one mile on turf on April 3 as a consideration.

Santa Anita will be dark on Monday and Tuesday before racing resumes on Wednesday with an eight-race program that gets underway at 1 p.m.

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