Frankly Perfect came from last place Saturday to upset heavily favored Great Communicator and score a one-length victory in the $264,900 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita.
The 4-year-old son of 1982 winner Perrault, sent off as the second-longest price in the five-horse field, used a powerful rush to catch Great Communicator turning for home before drawing away.
It was Frankly Perfect’s first victory in the United States since arriving from France last fall, although he finished second in three of five starts.
Sent off at odds of 7-1, Frankly Perfect, ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, rewarded his backers in the crowd of 29,353 with payoffs of $16.20, $4.60 and $2.80. Great Communicator, with Ray Sibille up, paid $2.60 and $2.10, and Payant, ridden by Pat Valenzuela, returned $2.60.
The winner was timed in 2:32 4/5 for the 1 1/2 miles on the turf.
Frankly Perfect had earned $322,173 in 13 previous starts. He added $152,400 Saturday for the Summa Stable of Bruce McNall, who also owns the Los Angeles Kings.
The victory was the ninth in the San Luis Stakes for trainer Charlie Whittingham, who also saddled Perrault in 1982.
The loss snapped a streak of three victories by Great Communicator that started with the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Turf last November at Churchill Downs.
The San Luis Rey is one of a series of turf events leading to the $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational April 23--a race Great Communicator won last year after finishing second in the San Luis Rey.
Today, Pen Bal Lady returns after a four-month layoff to head a field of 10 fillies and mares in the $75,000 Las Cienegas Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Her opposition is expected to include Down Again, Survive, Green’s Gallery and Queen Forbes.
Patchy Groundfog overhauled No Commitment inside the sixteenth pole and went on to win the $150,000 San Francisco Mile by 1 1/4 lengths at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif.
Ridden by Frank Olivares and trained by Julio Canani, Patchy Groundfog ran the mile on a turf course labeled yielding in 1:38 1/5.
Owned by David Sofro, Patchy Groundfog was the 3-1 second-choice of the crowd of 19,644 and returned $8.40, $3.80 and $3.00. No Commitment, trained by Lloyd Mason, went off at 15-1 and paid $9.00 and $4.80. Mazilier, who finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind No Commitment, paid $3.40 to show under jockey Aaron Gryder.
Awe Inspiring upset Kerosene in the $100,000 Everglades Stakes, winning the prep race for the $300,000 Flamingo Stakes April 8 by three lengths at Hialeah, Fla.
Foxy Reality finished third, two lengths behind Kerosene and 2 1/2 lengths in front of previously unbeaten Cantrell Road.
Ridden by Craig Perret, Awe Inspiring covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46 4/5 in topping the field of eight 3-year-olds. The Kentucky-bred son of Slew o’ Gold, won one of two starts as a 2-year-old and has won three of four this year.
Blushing John, making only his third start in the United States, caught a small field in the turn and pulled away to capture the $100,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.
Owned by Allen Paulson and trained by Richard Lundy, the 4-year-old colt covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.
Ridden by Pat Day, Blushing John was the second choice in field of five older horses. He finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of longshot Lyphard’s Ridge. Proper Reality, the 1-5 favorite, was beaten for the first time in three starts this year and finished third.