01/15/2011 6:01PM

Santa Anita: War Element learns


What seemed hopeless in the first furlong of Saturday's fifth race for maidens on turf turned into a promising performance in the stretch when War Element rallied from last, making up more than 14 lengths to finish fourth, two lengths behind race winner Isle of Prado ($18.80).

The kick that War Element showed in the final half-mile of the one-mile race caught jockey Garrett Gomez by surprise.

"He'd never been on grass," he said while walking back to the jockey's room. "He came out of the gate and couldn't figure it out. He switched leads on the backstretch and I was on a different horse. If he learns what it's about, he'll be dangerous."

Gomez said it even crossed his mind to pull up War Element in the first furlong, but decided to continue.

Isle of Prado, trained by Ben Cecil, won by a half-length over Kumiva, who led in the stretch. the 44-1 outsider Jazzman's Dance finished third in the field of 10. Isle of Prado was winless in six starts.