01/11/2009 12:00AM

Cowboy Cal by a nose in San Pasqual


ARCADIA, Calif. - The versatile Cowboy Cal has won three stakes on turf, placed in a Grade 1 on the main track and was well-regarded enough to start in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

Saturday, he further added to his list of accomplishments by winning his first stakes on the main track in the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride synthetic surface.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Cowboy Cal ($7.60) finished a nose in front of Informed. Cowboy Cal, who ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.26, survived an inquiry regarding the stretch run. The stewards ruled that he did not cause interference while drifting to the outside in the final furlong.

Cowboy Cal led throughout, setting early fractions of 23.25 and 46.20 seconds and leading by a length to the final furlong. The Grade 2 San Pasqual was his first start on the main track since a ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. He was second in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on the main track at Keeneland last April.

Owned by Robert and Janice McNair and trained by Todd Pletcher, Cowboy Cal was facing older horses for the first time in the San Pasqual. He was the only 4-year-old among the field of nine. Cowboy Cal has won 5 of 10 starts and $597,708.

Informed, a 28-1 shot, finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of 77-1 Magnum. Well Armed, the 3-2 favorite, finished fourth. He took up in the stretch behind the first two and was a neck behind Magnum at the finish.