Northern Spur, a regular top-three finisher in his nati
Oct. 09, 1995
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Northern Spur, a regular top-three finisher in his native Europe, had yet to find a track he liked since coming to the United States in July.
The 4-year-old bled in the Aug. 27 Arlington Million, prompting trainer Ron McAnally to run him on Lasix in the $300,000 Oak Tree Invitational on Sunday at Santa Anita.
Northern Spur responded with a 1 1/2-length victory over 3-2 favorite Sandpit after the two horses ran neck and neck heading into the final turn.
McAnally blamed the 4-year-old's bleeding on the heat and humidity in Chicago, saying Northern Spur had not bled since.
``He definitely needed the Lasix,'' McAnally said. ``It was a little cooler today, and I thank the Lord for that.''
Chris McCarron has been aboard Northern Spur in his three U.S. starts, including third place in the Eddie Read Handicap Aug. 6 at Del Mar.
``This colt had won some important races in Europe, so he was a nice horse before he came to this country,'' McCarron said. ``Today, things fell in place. He ran to the best of his ability.''
Sandpit, who won the Invitational last year, led through the early fractions with Northern Spur in close pursuit. The two hooked up at the half-mile pole, with Sandpit on the rail.
Northern Spur drew off at the eighth pole, and the 6-year-old Brazilian-bred couldn't challenge when Northern Spur pulled away.
The winner covered 1 1/4 miles on the turf in 2:02 1-5 and paid $11.40, $3 and $3.40 at 9-2 odds. Sandpit and Corey Nakatani returned $2.40 and $2.20 as the 3-2 favorite. Royal Chariot, under Laffit Pincay, was another three lengths back in third and paid $4.20 to show.
McCarron, who won the Invitational for the fourth time, began a five-day suspension Sunday. However, he was allowed to ride Northern Spur because the Invitational is a Grade 1 event.
``Ron (McAnally, the trainer) and I talked strategy in the paddock and he said Sandpit is the only speed in the race, so don't try to let him gallop on his own,'' McCarron said.
Winning owner Charles Cella watched the race from Oaklawn Park, where he is president of the Arkansas track. He purchased Irish-bred Northern Spur earlier this year for $1.2 million, and brought him to the United States from France in July.
The victory, worth $180,000, increased Northern Spur's career earnings to $381,792, with four victories in 10 starts.
The Invitational, previously run for 26 years at 1 1/2 miles, was shortened this year to make for a more natural progression to the Breeders' Cup Turf on Oct. 28 at Belmont Park.
McAnally, who saddled his fifth Invitational winner, said he would consider running Northern Spur in the Turf.
``Cella doesn't have a lot of horses, but he did pay his dues with this horse,'' McAnally said. ``He's game. If he tells me he's a lucky man, well, I believe him.''
Sandpit is being pointed to November's $3.5 million Japan Cup in Toyko. He is not eligible for the Breeders' Cup.
``He never got comfortable,'' Nakatani said. ``He never switched leads. He ran on his left lead the whole way.''
Future Quest put himself in contention for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a head victory over Odyle in the $200,000 Norfolk Stakes.
Future Quest and Kent Desormeaux covered 1 1-16 miles in 1:43 1-5 and paid $4.60, $2.60 and $2.60 as the 6-5 favorite. Exetera, running as an entry with Future Quest for owner Verne Winchell, was another neck back in third.
McAnally said he would decide in a week or so whether to ship Future Quest and Exetera to New York for the Breeders' Cup.
Odyle, a maiden making his second start, returned $4.40 and $4.20.
Kentucky Cup Juvenile winner Editor's Note finished fourth.
Borodislew won her fourth straight start by 1 1/4 lengths over Top Rung in the $130,250 Lady's Secret Handicap.
The winner, sired by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and ridden by Gary Stevens, ran 1 1-16 miles in 1:41 3-5. She paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.20. Top Rung returned $3.60 and $2.60, while Golden Klair was another six lengths back in third and paid $2.40 to show.