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LONGSHOT SPIRIT RULES UPSETS $60,000 SANTA ANITA ALLOWANCE, PUGLISI GUIDES AGUIRRE TRAINEE TO HALF LENGTH WIN OVER HIGHLY REGARDED WAR ACADEMY
MASSIVE TWO DAY PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $550,000 INTO FRIDAY, TOTAL POOL COULD REACH $2 MILLION
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 20, 2014)—With Iggy Puglisi aboard, longshot Spirit Rules held off well fancied War Academy late to win Thursday’s $60,000 allowance feature at Santa Anita, winning by a half length while getting six furlongs in 1:08.74.
Breaking from the outside post position in a field of six older horses, Spirit Rules sat second into and around the far turn and overhauled pacesetter Heir of Storm inside the eighth pole and repelled a stiff challenge from War Academy, who hadn’t run since being eased as the 9-5 favorite in last year’s Grade I Arkansas Derby.
Trained by Paul Aguirre, Spirit Rules, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Tribal Rule, was off at 9-1 and paid $20.60, $7.00 and $4.40. .
“He ran one of his best races (a one length allowance win four starts back at Hollywood Park Nov. 8) from just off the pace and we’ve tried that the last few times but it hasn’t quite worked out,” said Puglisi, who registered his second win of the day. “Paul came up with the idea of just sending him today and putting him up close to the pace and seeing if he would still have that strong finish. Obviously, it was the right thing to do. He held off some really good horses.”
Owned by Barbara Accardy, Craig Siedler, Jim and Mark Xitco and partners, Spirit Rules picked up his fourth win from 11 starts and banked $46,800 for the win, increasing his earnings to $187,078.
War Academy, the second choice at 9-5, broke from the four post and sat a comfortable third to the top of the lane with Martin Garcia up and looked a winner a furlong out.
“He got a little tired,” said Garcia. “Going six furlongs, I had to rush him a little. He’ll do better going a little farther.”
Trained by Bob Baffert, War Academy finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of Kate’s Event and paid $3.40 and $2.80.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Kate’s Event broke a step slow and rallied from last to be third, a neck in front of Omega Star. Off at 5-1, Kate’s Event paid $2.80 to show.
Heir of Storm the 3-2 favorite, set fractions of 21.66, 44.06, 56.24 and tired to finish fifth.
There is a massive two day carryover into Friday’s Pick Six of $551,928, and it is expected Friday’s total pool could reach $2 million.
Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Friday, with first post time on an eight-race card at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.