04/16/2016 8:07PM

Addition of blinkers beneficial for San Onofre

Benoit & Associates
Jockey Edwin Maldonado guides San Onofre to victory in the Grade 2 Los Angeles Stakes. It was Maldonado's fourth consecutive win in the Los Angeles.

CYPRESS, Calif. - San Onofre left trainer Karen Headley puzzled when he finished last of eight at 9-2 in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita on March 12.

"He didn't pay attention last time," Headley said. "I had to figure him out."

Headley opted to add blinkers to the 6-year-old gelding for Saturday’s $100,000 Los Angeles Stakes at Los Alamitos. San Onofre responded with a one-length win, his second graded stakes win of 2016.

San Onofre ($7.40) ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.04 under jockey Edwin Maldonado who won the Grade 3 Los Angeles Stakes for the fourth consecutive year.
Maldonado has compiled his winning streak in the Los Angeles Stakes at three venues.

Maldonado won the Los Angeles Stakes on Comma to the Top at Hollywood Park in 2013, the year the track closed. The race was moved to Santa Anita in 2014. Maldonado won in 2014 with Cyclometer and last year with Distinctiv Passion. The Los Angeles Stakes was moved to Los Alamitos after Santa Anita did not schedule the race at the winter-spring or spring-summer meetings this year.

Maldonado was not aware of the milestone until told after the race.

"I just hope we can keep it going," he said.

Remarkably, Maldonado’s win streak is not a record. Don Pierce won five consecutive runnings of the Los Angeles Stakes from 1969 to 1973. He rode Ack Ack in 1970.

San Onofre was part of a field of five in Saturday’s race. Breaking from the outside post, San Onofre was third for the first three furlongs, chasing 39-1 pacesetter Sir Kip, who ran an opening quarter-mile in 21.81 seconds. With a wide rally, San Onofre took the lead before the eighth pole.

Headley realized San Onofre was in front by listening to the call from track announcer Frank Mirahmadi.

"I was watching him come very wide," Headley said. "When I heard he was in front, I started jumping up and down. This is a good day."

Wild Dude, the even-money favorite, finished second, a half-length in front of Raised a Secret, who was followed by Yiannis and Sir Kip. Wild Dude won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship last October, but is winless in his last three starts.

Headley, the daughter of trainer Bruce Headley, trains San Onofre for her mother, Aase.

San Onofre, by Surf Cat, has won 6 of 13 starts and earned $402,345. He won the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes at Santa Anita in January.