12/18/2016 8:22PM

Ann Arbor Eddie outduels California Diamond in King Glorious

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Benoit & Associates
Ann Arbor Eddie, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, defeats 2-5 favorite California Diamond by 1 1/4 lengths in the King Glorious.

CYPRESS, Calif.- Ann Arbor Eddie held off a sustained threat from the heavily favored California Diamond to win his first stakes in Sunday’s $100,000 King Glorious Stakes for 2-year-old California-breds at Los Alamitos.

The King Glorious Stakes was the top race on the final day of the Los Alamitos two-week winter meeting. Santa Anita opens its winter-spring meeting on Dec. 26.

Ann Arbor Eddie ($7.20) won by 1 1/4 lengths over 2-5 California Diamond, the two racing within a half-length of each other throughout. The race was very much a tactical battle between jockey Mario Gutierrez on Ann Arbor Eddie and Kent Desormeaux on California Diamond.

California Diamond dueled with Ann Arbor Eddie through the first half-mile, leading narrowly. Ann Arbor Eddie led by a half-length with a quarter-mile remaining and was briefly passed by California Diamond in the stretch for a few strides. Ann Arbor Eddie regained the lead and pulled away in the final sixteenth while racing on the inside of the pair.

“Mario thought he would play off what Kent did,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “We figured he would use us as a target. They were head and head all the way around there.”

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Ann Arbor Eddie was timed in 1:35.98. California Diamond finished three-quarters of a length in front of Milton Freewater, who was followed by Hot Smoke, and Calli Way. Mr Ability was scratched on Sunday morning.

Ann Arbor Eddie is owned by owners and breeders Paul and Zillah Reddam. A gelding by Square Eddie, Ann Arbor Eddie has won 2 of 3 and earned $101,200. He beat California-bred maidens in his debut at Santa Anita on Oct. 29 and was third behind Mastery and California Diamond in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes at seven furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 19.

Mastery returned to win the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 10 and is rated as the leading 2-year-old in Southern California.

O’Neill said Ann Arbor Eddie is a candidate for the $250,000 California Cup Derby for statebreds at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 28. Later in 2017, Ann Arbor Eddie may run in a graded stakes on the Triple Crown trail.

“Square Eddies have shown they can hang with open company,” O’Neill said. “All three of his starts have been solid.”