Hear the Ghost flashes past the wire in front of Flashback. (Photos courtesy Benoit & Associates)
By Melissa Bauer-Herzog, @mbauerherzog, America’s Best Racing
Hear the Ghost won his graded stakes debut in a big way at Santa Anita Park on Saturday in the $300,750 San Felipe Stakes (G2).
The gelded son of Ghostzapper won in exciting fashion as he hit the front in the shadow of the wire to beat favorite Flashback in a time of 1:42.34 for 1 1/16 miles.
As the two battled up front, Hear the Ghost settled comfortably in midpack, dropping farther off the leaders before nearly dropping to the back of the main pack of horses as they raced down the backstretch.
Hear the Ghost launched his winning move as the field approached the finish line and powered toward the leaders in midstretch, catching Flashback just in time and beating the even-money favorite by a half-length.
Fast-closing Tiz a Minister finished third, a half-length behind Flashback with second betting choice Goldencents another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth.
The win earned Hear the Ghost his first 50 points toward the Kentucky Derby (G1) and almost guarantees him a spot in the gate at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
“I got a lot of enjoyment out of buying this horse and racing him with my partner, Ted Aroney," Jerry Hollendorfer, Hear the Ghost's trainer and co-owner said. "We’ll find out (about longer distances). That’s where we have to go next. I think we will (stay home for the Santa Anita Derby on April 6).
“I just told Corey (Nakatani) to watch the pace and try to be tactical and not get caught down inside, and those things that we always talk about. I have a great deal of confidence in this guy (Nakatani). He’s won some very big races for me along the way, so he can ride anything of mine.”
Hear the Ghost is by 2004 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Ghostzapper and out of Rehear, by Coronando’s Quest. Rehear is the dam of Spinaway Stakes (G1) winner Mani Bhavan and from the family of top sire Speightstown.
Bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish and Lazy F Ranch, the chestnut gelding was sold for $40,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale and races for Halo Farms and Hollendorfer.
Hear the Ghost paid $13.80 for a $2 win bet.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
HEAR THE GHOST AND COREY NAKATANI RETURN TO THE WINNER'S CIRCLE