02/22/2015 8:00PM

Distinctiv Passion takes off-the-turf Joe Hernandez

Benoit & Associates
Distinctiv Passion, ridden by Edwin Maldonado, scores a front-running victory over a wet-fast main track in the Joe Hernandez.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The versatility of Distinctiv Passion led to a win in Sunday’s $74,284 Joe Hernandez Stakes at Santa Anita.

The Hernandez Stakes was scheduled for about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, but switched to 6 1/2 furlongs on a wet-fast main track after intermittent rain through the afternoon. The race originally had eight entrants, but was reduced to four starters with the surface switch.

Distinctiv Passion was the lone pacesetter of the remaining runners and was not seriously challenged, drawing off to win by 4 1/4 lengths under jockey Edwin Maldonado.

Trainer Jeff Bonde was prepared to run Distinctiv Passion on turf, and said he was not concerned when the surface was switched.

“He can adapt to any surface,” Bonde said.

Distinctiv Passion set fractions of 21.48 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.23 seconds for a half-mile. Distinctiv Passion led by a half-length after a half-mile and widened his advantage through the stretch. He paid $3.20 and was timed in 1:14.33.

Seeking the Sherif, claimed for $62,500 on Feb. 1, held second, finishing 4 3/4 lengths in front of Chief Lion, who finished a head in front of U S Citizen.

Hay Dude, Home Run Kitten, Sweet Swap, and Winning Prize were withdrawn when the race was transferred from turf to dirt.

Distinctiv Passion races for the partnership of Edward Brown Jr., Alan Klein, and Philip Lebherz. A 5-year-old horse by With Distinction, Distinctiv Passion has won 7 of 15 starts and earned $393,660.

Distinctiv Passion has won three stakes in his career, including the San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters in 2013, and the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes here on Dec. 27.  Distinctiv Passion was fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes on Jan. 31, racing on the lead for a half-mile before fading in the final furlong.