01/29/2011 8:00PM

Caracortado finishes strongly to beat The Usual Q.T. in Sunshine Millions Turf

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BENOIT PHOTO
Joe Talamo guides Caracortado to victory in the Sunshine Millions Turf.

ARCADIA, Calif.- The potential that Caracortado showed in recent months on turf was fully realized in Saturday’s $300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita.

Making his stakes debut on the surface, Caracortado rallied from fifth in the final three furlongs to win the restricted race for California-breds and Florida-breds by a half-length over the two-time Grade 1 winner The Usual Q.T., who led in the stretch.

“He has that turn of foot every time you ask him,” winning trainer Mike Machowsky said. “He seems to have more in the tank.”

Caracortado ($8.20) ran 1 1/8 miles in a quick 1:46.75 under jockey Joe Talamo, who thought he was aboard the winner on the final turn.

“At the quarter pole, I was all smiles,” Talamo said. “He finished the way he’s been running in the last furlong of his works on turf.”

The Usual Q.T. looked like a winner in early stretch, but could not hold off Caracortado.

“The horse ran huge and they ran fast,” said Jim Cassidy, who trains The Usual Q.T. “He kept trying.”

The Usual Q.T., the winner of the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar last July and the third-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs in November, finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Soul Candy, the winner of the California Cup Classic at Hollywood Park in October. Soul Candy, a closer, was squeezed at the start, but recovered to run well through the final quarter-mile.

Jeranimo, who beat The Usual Q.T. into third-place in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap on Dec. 27, could only finish fourth as the 7-5 favorite in the field of eight. Presious Passion, the runner-up in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf on this course, finished fifth after leading by as many as five lengths in the first six furlongs.

The Sunshine Millions Turf was the richest win of Caracortado’s 11-race career, which includes 7 wins and earnings of $491,520 for co-owners Blahut Racing and Machowsky, who bred the 4-year-old gelding.

Machowsky said that Caracortado will be pointed for the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf or the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on the main track on March 5.