Ambitious Brew, Holy Lute upset Eddie D divisions ahead of Turf Sprint

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October 1st, 2016

Unlucky to lose the same race in a photo two years ago as the favorite, Ambitious Brew bounced back to pull off a minor upset in the first division of the $101,725 Eddie D (G3) at Santa Anita on Friday, potentially stamping his ticket for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) over the same course and distance in early November.

Under Mike Smith, the six-year-old Tizbud gelding tracked a couple lengths off a pace set by Justin Squared. Advancing to second in mid-stretch when Richard's Boy inherited the lead, Ambitious Brew wore down that rival and drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths in quick time of 1:11.57 for about 6 1/2 furlongs over a fast-playing, firm turf that had been refurbished over the summer.

"He jumped out of the gate well, I was in a great spot from the word 'go' and able to get to the outside smoothly, without losing any ground," Smith said. "I've been blessed to ride him a lot and win on him a few times, but I have to say that this is his best race, by far. If I can get him to do that coming down the hill at Breeders' Cup, that would be awesome."

A homebred racing for Pamela Ziebarth and trained by Marty Jones, Ambitious Brew paid $13.20. Richard's Boy was a length in front of second choice Hunt at the finish, while 8-5 favorite Lady Shipman, last year's Turf Sprint runner-up, was a distant sixth in her first attempt down Santa Anita's unique hillside turf course.

This was the first graded win for Ambitious Brew, previously a three-time stakes winner in the California-bred ranks. He is now five-for-10 on Santa Anita's lawn, a solid record since all but one of the previous Turf Sprints held on the local turf had been won by horses with previous winning form over it.

Ambitious Brew was three lengths seventh to Bobby's Kitten, the lone exception, in the 2014 Turf Sprint.

The second Eddie D division, worth $102,070, was taken by a longer shot in Holy Lute, who enjoyed a trip similar to Ambitious Brew's and drew away to a 1 1/4-length victory under Jamie Theriot in 1:11.23.

"I knew he was going to run big, he's been doing well," Theriot said. "Third race off a layoff, working very well, very nice. He ran phenomenal today. I told Jim he would run big. I told him I'd be very disappointed if he didn't but, he did."

Owned by Class Racing Stable and trained by Jim Cassidy, Holy Lute paid $23.40. Boozer edged 3-1 favorite Guns Loaded for second by a head.

A six-year-old son of Midnight Lute, Holy Lute had previously taken the 2013 El Cajon on synthetic and the 2015 Green Flash H. at Del Mar on the turf. Although second in the 2015 renewals of the San Simeon (G3) and Siren Lure over the course and distance, Holy Lute had struggled in recent tries down the hill, finishing unplaced in the Daytona (G3), Clocker's Corner H., and Joe Hernandez last winter.

After a fifth in his title defense of the Green Flash, Holy Lute rebounded to beat allowance foes by a neck going five furlongs on Del Mar's turf August 31.

Cassidy confirmed the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint would be next on Holy Lute's agenda.

Photos courtesy of Benoit