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Undeniable win, Zenyatta’s Ziconic strong

After four starts and three places, Undeniable U was not denied in the second race at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016.


Carrie Lynn Barker

He survived yet another steward’s inquiry to hold his win under jockey, Victor Espinoza. The bay colt by Red Giant out of the Point Given mare, Naseem bumped second place finisher, Liam the Charmer and Flavian Prat but the incident was ruled to have no effect on the order. Liam the Charmer, a 12 to 1 longshot, ran a good, hard race in his first start on turf and looks like he may be an up-and-comer.

Undeniable U, winner of Race 2

Undeniable U, winner of Race 2

It was a pretty typical day of racing. 2-to-1 shot Blooming Hannah, ridden by Tyler Baze, took some urging but moved away from the field to win the Fourth over longshot Chicago Angel and Drayden Van Dyke. Tough but Nice and Fernando Perez stalked the pace and gained the lead over Turn Your Eyes for a nice win and good payout in the Fifth. Guns Loaded surprised most fans when winning the Sixth with Santiago Gonzalez aboard. Favorite Bad Read Sanchez under Mario Gutierrez ran clear of the field in the Seventh under a hand ride, making the win look easy.

Tough But Nice and Fernando Perez win the 5th

Tough But Nice and Fernando Perez win the 5th

The Grade II Buena Vista was the only stakes on the card for the day, and betters chose Her Emmynency as the favorite, but it was Paulina’s Love and Gary Stevens who held off Stormy Lucy, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, who just missed the win. Keri Belle, who got a bet from me just for her name, and jockey Alex Solis finished gamely, just edging out Her Emmynency and Joseph Talamo.

Paulina's Love and Gary Stevens

Paulina’s Love and Gary Stevens

After Gary Stevens’ win on Paulina’s Love, he was interviewed trackside but few seemed interested in what he thought of the Eighth race. They were more interested in the mount he picked up in the Third after Mike Smith was suspended – Ziconic. Ziconic is the second son of the famed Zenyatta, the same colt who last week someone told me couldn’t “get his hips under him.” Ziconic, though, proved to be just like his mom. He fell way back in the field, to the point where his number 5 was no longer visible on the widescreen. Then as the field approached the wire, Gary Stevens asked him and he ran from last and hit the wire third with plenty left in the tank. A longer race might suit this young colt, and I expect to see much more from him in the future. He was fun to watch in the paddock as well, as he apparently tried to eat a sponge.

Ziconic being playful in the paddock

Ziconic being playful in the paddock

Gary commented that he’d never been applauded on a third place finisher before, but the comments and the cheers from the crowd made it well known that Zenyatta was still loved. Though her first colt, Cozmic One, hasn’t done well on the track, Ziconic seems promising.

After the loss of her War Front filly in a paddock accident, Queen Z, as she is affectionately known, is back in foal to War Front. Her connections are hoping for another filly, to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

— By Carrie Lynn Barker, who shares her thoughts, observations and photos of the horse-related activities from her near-weekly visits to Santa Anita Park on Saturdays during racing season (all photos by Carrie). Carrie is a photographer who lives in Monrovia with her screenwriter husband Brandon and is Chief Member Concierge at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce. Carrie has written seven stories published as ebooks and has produced several films. She has also been Operation Manager of Barfly Staff Monitoring Services since 2010.

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