By Steve Andersen
ARCADIA, Calif. – Boozer caught Richard’s Boy in the final strides to win his first stakes in 16 months in Saturday’s $102,070 Sensational Star Handicap for California-breds at Santa Anita.
Boozer ($14) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:13.03. Boozer had endured a seven-race losing streak since winning the 2014 California Flag Handicap for state-breds on the hillside turf course in October, 2014.
Boozer gave jockey Gary Stevens his seventh stakes win of the winter-spring meeting. He leads all riders in that category, three of clear Flavien Prat.
Stevens had Boozer within stalking range throughout, running in fourth place on the hillside. Crossing over the main track onto the turf oval, Boozer was third, about 2 1/2 lengths behind pacesetter Richard’s Boy. With a furlong to go, Richard’s Boy led by a length, but he could not hold off Boozer, who won by a head.
“At the eighth pole, I could see he had a chance,” winning trainer Mark Glatt said.
Richard’s Boy, who won the Desert Code Stakes on the hillside turf course last May, held second, a length in front of 8-5 favorite Forest Chatter. The Sensational Star was Forest Chatter’s first loss on the hillside turf course in his sixth career start on the surface.
McHeat finished fourth, followed by Alert Bay, Pat the Fine, Lucky J Lane, Poshsky, Aotearoa, Image of Joplin and Solid Wager.
Boozer, a 6-year-old gelding by Unusual Heat, has won 6 of 20 starts and earned $461,192. Owned by Al and Sandee Kirkwood, Boozer has had three starts at this meeting, finishing fifth in an optional claimer on dirt on Jan. 3, and third in the $251,000 California Cup Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles on turf on Jan. 30.
Glatt said the Cal Cup Turf Classic distance was beyond Boozer’s ideal trip. He plans to start Boozer in races on the hillside or a mile on turf in coming starts.