CANDY WALTZ LIVING HIGH, TAKES $30,000 BIG BEAR PURSE AS BEJARANO TIMES LATE CHARGE TO PERFECTION

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 3, 2013)—With a heart-pounding late surge, Candy Waltz and Rafael Bejarano got up to win Sunday’s $30,000 Big Bear Purse at Santa Anita by a half length, getting six furlongs in 1:09.95.

Next to last early, Candy Waltz, the 2-1 favorite in the eight-horse Big Bear, a starter allowance affair for 3-year-olds and up, loomed ominously approaching the eighth pole, but was still three lengths behind Field Report and Agapito Delgadillo.

“I knew there was a lot of speed in the race and didn’t want to rush my horse,” said Bejarano. “But I could see the number five (Field Report) was running confidently so I asked my horse and he gave me a big kick.”

Trained by Mike Pender and owned by Pender Racing LLC, Peal, L., Smith, C., Jaam Racing, Inc. or Thompson, Candy Waltz paid $6.40, $3.60 and $3.00.

Field Report, off at 4-1, sat one length off an opening quarter run in 22.08, and then established splits of 44.77 and 56.95. He finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of Laugh At Life and Joe Steiner and paid $4.20 and $3.00.

Laugh At Life, off at 7-1, was squeezed at the break, dueled for the early lead and proved third best. He paid $4.60 to show.

Live racing will resume at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m.

The Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles will highlight Saturday’s program. It is expected that top Derby candidates Goldencents, trained by Doug O’Neill, and Flashback, conditioned by Bob Baffert, will square off in the final major steppingstone to the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 6.