Courtesy of Santa Anita Park ARCADIA, Calif. (March 22, 2020)–With a light rain falling at post time, conditions proved ideal for Nick Alexander’s homebred Lieutenant Dan, as he sat close to the early pace and reeled in lightning quick distaffer Stealthediamonds late to take Sunday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes by three quarters of a length under Drayden Van Dyke. Trained by Steve Miyadi, the 4-year-old gelding by Grazen got 5 ½ furlongs over a “firm” turf at Santa Anita in 1:02.32.
Breaking from post position seven in a field of 10 older runners, Lieutenant Dan sat third, about 2 ½ lengths behind Stealthediamonds with longshot Grinning Tiger to his inside. Leaving the quarter pole, Van Dyke swung three-deep and overhauled a tiring Stealthediamonds with 50 yards to run while ridden confidently.
“It set up perfectly for him today,” said Van Dyke, who guided Lieutenant Dan to a close second place finish behind multiple stakes winner Fashionably Fast in the Cal Cup Sprint going six furlongs on dirt here Jan. 18. “My main concern was getting him to switch to his right lead when we turned for home. Once he did, yes, I was pretty confident we’d catch that mare.”
Off as the second choice at 3-1, Lieutenant Dan, who is out of the Indian Charlie mare Excusabull, paid $8.60, $5.40 and $3.60.
A two-time Cal-bred stakes winner sprinting on dirt, Lieutenant Dan got his first stakes victory on grass and his third overall added money win today. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $406,020 from an overall mark of 12-5-2-4.
“The race set up well for him, no question,” said Miyadi. “This horse is finally growing into his frame. We gave him a little time off and he’s picked up some weight, which he needed because he’s been so light.”
At that point, Miyadi segued into a mild dose of Stengelese: “Someday, he’s gonna have to route. He sprints like he’ll route and he routes like he’ll sprint.”
Be that as it may, Stealthediamonds, who broke from post position nine, was able to clear off as planned going into the far turn, but didn’t have enough gas left to hold off the winner as she finished 2 ½ lengths clear of a late closing Brandothebartender.
Off at 5-1 with Agapito Delgadillo, Stealthediamonds paid $6.40 and $4.00.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Brandothebartender was off at 10-1 and paid $5.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.52, 45.03 and 56.40.
Sponsored by the CTBA, the Sensational Star is part of the Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.