Classy Cal-Bred Brickyard Ride Repeats In The Grade III, $100,000 Kona Gold Stakes
CLASSY CAL-BRED BRICKYARD RIDE REPEATS IN THE GRADE III, $100,000 KONA GOLD STAKES, WINNING BY A HALF LENGTH FOR OWNER/BREEDER PAIS
ARCADIA, CA (April 22, 2023)—With a recent race under his belt, California-bred Brickyard Ride demonstrated his customary speed and considerable class on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he held off a determined Anarchist late to take the Grade III, $100,000 Kona Gold Stakes, becoming only the second horse to register repeat victories in the 38-year history of the race. Owned and bred by Alfred Pais, trained by Craig Lewis and ridden by Juan Hernandez, Brickyard Ride got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.84.
Quick from the gate but anything but lonely on the lead, Brickyard Ride was pressed to the far turn by a threesome comprised of Anarchist, Armagnac and Positivity. Approaching the three furlong pole, Hernandez managed to open up on Anarchist by a length and a half, and this proved to perhaps be the winning move as Brickyard Ride was all-out late to prevail as Anarchist was steadily closing the gap on the money.
“He made a really good move around the three eighths,” said Hernandez. “I felt the pace was really hot, these guys didn’t want to leave me alone. Of course, everybody was trying to win the race, like me. Around the three eighths, he picked it up and that was the signal that he was ready to run. I went ahead and let him open up a couple of lengths and I think that was where he won the race.
“He’s a great horse, it looks like he came back pretty good. Hopefully he can keep improving every race. He has a lot of heart because with these fractions (21.77, 43.92 and 1:08.95)…He is good, he just loves to run.”
Idle since May 29 prior to running third down the hillside turf course in the Grade III San Simeon Stakes March 5, Brickyard Ride, one of three California-breds in a field of five older horses, was off at 4-5 and paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10.
In becoming the first horse to take consecutive runnings of the Kona Gold since Bill Spawr’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winning Amazombie in 2011 and 2012, Brickyard Ride notched his third graded stakes win and his eighth overall stakes victory.
A 6-year-old full horse by Clubhouse Ride out of the Southern Image mare Brickyard Helen, Brickyard picked up $60,000 for his efforts, increasing his earnings to $816,977 while running his overall race record to 25-13-1-3.
“He’s just a wonderful horse,” said Lewis. That half mile was pretty rapid. I got a little concerned but thankfully Juan had a lot of horse when the running started. He’s a fast dude, really fast. Fortunately, I’m blessed with very good help, (my) foreman was great, the groom’s great. My exercise boys are great. My operation is really good and I don’t have to do much but stand around and watch.”
Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Ramon Vazquez, Anarchist truly ran too good to lose, finishing 4 ½ lengths in front of stablemate and fellow Cal-bred Positivity. The second choice at 9-5, Anarchist paid $2.40 and $2.10.
Positivity, off at 12-1 with Tiago Pereira, paid $3.00 to show.