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CALIMONCO, AT 5-2, FOOLS FEW WITH $79,950 SIDD FINCH STAKES WIN
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 1, 2012) – Calimonco, the 5-2 second choice, didn’t fool too many fans Sunday when he repelled the closing rally of 6-1 Make Music for Me to take the 1st running of Santa Anita’s $79,950 Sidd Finch Stakes at one mile on turf.
After overtaking pacesetter and 9-5 favorite Dewey’s Special, Calimonco had enough in reserve to prevail by one-half length as Dewey’s Special faded to third, three-quarters-of-a-length behind Make Music for Me. The final time was 1:34.16.
Alonso Quinonez rode the winner in place of Victor Espinoza, sidelined with a fractured hand, and turned in a heady ride aboard the 6-year-old son of Storm Cat who was exiting four Grade II stakes races.
Calimonco, trained by John Sadler for breeder Martin Wygod and partners, was dropped out of graded stakes company after finishing fourth in the Grade II Arcadia Stakes on Feb. 4, his first start in over two months.
Rafael Bejarano, who had won three races earlier on the card, sent Dewey’s Special to the front at the outset. With 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Dancing in Silks in close pursuit, they took the field through early fractions of 22.64, 46.02 and 1:09.82.
Quinonez had Calimonco placed in striking position behind the leading pair before launching the winning bid between horses rounding the final turn.
“I thought I moved a little too soon,” said Quinonez, “but I had to go when I saw a hole open up. He was very game when I asked him today. He attacked the horse on the lead and he never gave up. When he got to the lead, he kind of waited a little. But when the other horse on the outside came to him, he turned him away.”
The winner, who carried high weight of 123 pounds, paid $7.20, $3.40 and $2.60. Make Music for Me, ridden by Martin Garcia, returned $4.80 and $3.40. The show price on Dewey’s Special was $2.40. The winning purse of $46,080 hiked Calimonco’s career earnings to $349,546 from a 5-7-7 record in 29 starts.
Sadler said he would like to keep Calimonco in competitions at one mile on turf. His record in 14 starts over the distance and surface is 3-5-1. “This is a good distance for him,” said Sadler. “We think he’s a miler. His form is good and it was a nice win for him today. We’ll build on that.”
The Sidd Finch Stakes recalls the name of a fictional baseball pitching sensation for the New York Mets who was created by writer George Plimpton in an April Fools’ hoax perpetrated by Sports Illustrated on April 1, 1985.
Santa Anita Derby Week commences on Thursday with an eight-race program beginning at 1 p.m. The 75th running of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby will be contested on Saturday.