Pranke, an Argentine 5-year-old making his second North American start, came from next-to-last Saturday to win the $85,300 San Marino Handicap on the turf course at Santa Anita.
Eddie Delahoussaye did not rush the South American invader in the early stages as Bill Shoemaker took the lead with Flattering News and maintained it until the turn for home.
At the turn, Pranke responded to his rider’s urging to move up to fourth place and, with a powerful stretch run, pulled ahead a few strides from the finish.
Reincarnate also came from well back to finish second for jockey Fernando Toro, while Dance Card Filled was third in the field of 12.
Pranke covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:26 4/5 and, as the favorite of the crowd of 33,000, returned $7.40, $4.60 and $4. Reincarnate paid $5.20 and $4, and Dance Card Filled paid $5.
Pranke, a son of Cipayo, won four major races in Argentina before being brought north by his owner-breeder, Hector Sanchez, who collected $51,500 as his horse stamped himself a contender for richer races later in the meeting.
The San Marino is one of a series of turf races leading up to the $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap April 23.
Kool Arrival seeks her fourth stakes victory today when she heads a field of seven 3-year-old fillies in the $200,000 Santa Anita Oaks.