By Steve Andersen
CYPRESS, Calif. (July 4, 2018)-The amazing 10-year-old son of Tizbud, Soi Phet surpassed $1 million in career earnings and won the 15th race of his career with a thrilling victory by a nose over B Squared in Wednesday’s $101,035 Bertrando Stakes at Los Alamitos.
The win was not confirmed until four minutes after the two runners reached the wire nearly together in the one-mile race for California-breds. Until the result of the photo was announced, trainer Leonard Powell doubted whether Soi Phet had won the seventh stakes of his career.
Powell watched the race about a sixteenth of a mile from the finish and said he could not judge the margin. Even a video replay left him unsure.
“I watched it here and you have no idea,” he said while walking toward the winner’s circle. “When I watched the replay, I had no idea.”
Soi Phet ($9.60) prevailed by the narrowest of margins over B Squared, the 2-1 favorite. The result left Powell amazed at the resiliency of Soi Phet, who was claimed for $16,000 in 2013.
“That’s what racehorses are,” Powell said.
Even Soi Phet’s most ardent backers were right to have doubts with a quarter-mile remaining. Winning rider Alonso Quinonez had Soi Phet on the inside throughout the race, and they were fourth, trailing pacesetter Taman Guard by more than two lengths, entering the stretch. Quinonez had Soi Phet under urging early in the quarter-mile stretch and they trailed by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining.
“He does that a lot,” Powell said. “He’ll hit a flat spot. I wasn’t too concerned.”
Soi Phet closed steadily between rivals in the final sixteenth to reach the front. He ran a mile in 1:35.53 to deny B Squared, who was ridden by Mario Gutierrez for trainer Doug O’Neill.
The result left Gutierrez stunned.
“Mario is not too happy about it,” said Leandro Mora, O’Neill’s chief assistant.
B Squared held a narrow advantage with a furlong remaining.
“The horse looked like he would take off,” Mora said of B Squared. “Sometimes, he waits for horses. When he felt Soi Phet come on the inside, he came back on.”
Grecian Fire, third in the Grade 3 All American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 28, closed from seventh in the final quarter-mile to finish third. Grazen Sky finished fourth, followed by Taman Guard, Make It a Triple, Continental Divide, and Magic Mark.
After the race, Magic Mark, the 5-2 second choice, collapsed and died in the stable area, according to a racing official. Magic Mark was second to the quarter pole before quickly fading from contention. He was eased and finished 52 lengths behind the winner.
Magic Mark was walked to the stables where he was stricken. A cause was not immediately known. A necropsy will be performed, which is standard when a horse dies at a California racetrack.
Soi Phet has won 15 of 59 starts and earned $1,015,250. Owned by Powell’s wife, Mathilde, along with Paul Viskovich and Gerald Benowitz, Soi Phet won the Crystal Water Stakes at a mile on turf for Cal-breds at Santa Anita on May 20 in a 47-1 upset.
Since being claimed, Soi Phet has earned $978,170.