Trainer Blake Heap describes Zany Tactics as a typical Californian.
"He's real laid back," Heap said.
And on Sunday the California-bred horse showed how happy he is to be home.
Zany Tactics, who holds the world record for six furlongs, beat Bolder Than Bold by a neck to win the six-furlong Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar in 1:09 before a crowd of 27,357.
But it isn't just his personality that is well-suited to the West. Zany Tactics likes to run in the West for health reasons.
In March the six-year old gelding set his world record of 1:06 4/5 in the Phoenix Gold Cup at Turf Paradise. But in his next two outings, both at the Aqueduct in New York, the horse bled and finished fourth and third, respectively.
So Heap was happy to have the horse back in California, where Zany Tactics can be given Lasix to control bleeding. The drug is prohibited in New York.
Medication or not, Heap still was concerned about Zany Tactics' condition.
"I don't know if he's completely ready to run," Heap said on Friday.
But run he did. Ridden by Jack Kaenel, Zany Tactics came from behind, running the third-quarter in just over 12 seconds.
Breaking from the outside, Zany Tactics held off a late rally by Bolder Than Bold, with Bill Shoemaker aboard, to win $38,600 and increase his career earnings to more than $500,000.
Zany Tactics paid $4.60, $2.80 and $2.40; Bolder Than Bold paid $2.80 and $2.40, while My Favorite Moment, with Eddie Delahoussaye up, paid $3.00 to show.
"The outside post helped him," Kaenel said. "He likes to lay out there. I probably moved earlier than I planned when Lincoln Park got through on the rail turning for home."
"He ran a hell of a race," said Heap, who likened the race to Zany Tactics' world-record performance. "He was drawn outside, he had speed inside him and that allowed him to get position, then he had some good finish."
Neither Heap nor Kaenel were concerned about Zany Tactics long lay-off--three months to the day.
"He runs good fresh," Kaenel said. "He's not much of a workhorse."
Kaenel, 21, has been Zany Tactics' rider in his last seven outings. Sunday they carried the field's top weight at 120.
Kaenel plans to stick with Zany Tactics as long as he can.
"I've had good success with him," the jockey said. "The horse has the dangdest personality--he's just like a pet."