03/29/2015 7:05PM

Bigger goals ahead after Blue Tone takes Santana Mile

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Benoit & Associates
Blue Tone, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, scores by 2 3/4 lengths in the Santana Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. - This might be the season that Blue Tone has a breakthrough win in a graded stakes. The timing could be ideal.

After Blue Tone won his second stakes in Sunday’s $80,200 Santana Mile at Santa Anita, trainer Bob Hess Jr. said he plans a local stakes campaign this spring and early summer for the 6-year-old gelding.

The competition is not expected to include the division’s two top runners – Shared Belief and California Chrome. Shared Belief is being pointed for the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 18. A start in the Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park in June has been discussed.

California Chrome, second in Saturday’s $10 million Dubai World Cup, is bound for England and a race at Royal Ascot in June.

As a result, races at Santa Anita such as the $100,000 Precisionist Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on May 2 and the $200,000 Californian Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on May 30 are possibilities for Blue Tone.

Blue Tone lost three consecutive graded stakes in advance of the Santana Mile, finishing second in the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar last November, third in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes here on Jan. 10, and seventh in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 7.

“In the last race, we learned he doesn’t want to ship,” Hess said. “He was flat and didn’t eat.

“We’ll map out a California plan.”

Blue Tone ($11.60) won the Santana Mile by 2 3/4 lengths over 9-1 Edge of Reality. Ankeny Hill, a 15-1 outsider, finished third, 3 1/4 lengths behind Blue Tone.

Jockey Kent Desormeaux had Blue tone in fourth early and launched a four-wide rally to reach the front in early stretch. Blue Tone was timed in 1:36.11.

“He doesn’t care for the inside,” Desormeaux said. “He gave it his best.”

The disappointment in the field was Galicado, the 8-5 favorite who won the first three starts of his career in Argentina, including two Group 1 races.

The Santana Mile was Galicado’s American debut. Trained by Ron McAnally, Galicado was expected to run in the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby in Dubai on Saturday, but was not flown to Dubai on March 17 after developing a fever. The fever subsided rapidly, allowing for the resumption of training and a start in the Santana Mile.

Galicado was seventh early in the race, and closed in the final furlong to finish 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner.

Blue Tone, by Birdstone, races for Beverly Engelberg, Schoeder Farms, and Jan Steeper, and has won 5 of 14 starts and earned $338,150.