09/24/2014 10:59AM

Eddie D potential launching pad for Ambitious Brew

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Ambitious Brew, winning the Sensational Star in February, could be aimed at the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint if he runs well on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Ambitious Brew returns after a seven-month layoff in Friday’s $100,000 Eddie D Stakes at Santa Anita. A strong performance could lead to a grander race in early November.

The Eddie D is run over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, and Ambitious Brew is unbeaten in three races at the distance on that course. The Grade 3 Eddie D Stakes, named after Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, is designed as a prep race for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint over the same course Nov. 1.

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On Wednesday, trainer Marty Jones said he preferred to focus on the Eddie D Stakes with Ambitious Brew, but he knows what is on the horizon. Asked about the BC Turf Sprint, Jones said that the race was not part of his plans “at this point.”


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 8 Ambitious Brew. Trainer Marty Jones is 3 for 11 with a $3.40 ROI over the past five years in turf sprints at Santa Anita following a layoff of 180 days or more. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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“We’ll see how this race goes,” he said. “That could change.”

Ambitious Brew is one of five 2014 stakes winners in a competitive field of 11, along with Gallant Son, Home Run Kitten, Lil Bit O’Fun, and Pure Tactics. The turf rails are set 15 feet out from their permanent position.


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 10 Home Run Kitten. Trainer David Hofmans is 2 for 64 with a $0.26 ROI over the past five years in turf sprints. Click for more details. Mike Hogan


KEY CONTENDERS

Ambitious Brew (Last 3 Beyers: 96-93-98)

◗ A 4-year-old gelding owned by Pamela Ziebarth, Ambitious Brew won the Sensational Star Stakes for California-breds on the hillside turf course Feb. 22, his most recent start.

“He was tired, and he had some minor issues,” Jones said of the layoff. “We’ll get started and see how he does.”

◗ In seven career races, Ambitious Brew has never been worse than second while racing in sprints.

◗ Mike Smith has the mount on Ambitious Brew. Smith has ridden him to three wins in six starts.

“Mike rides the horse so well,” Jones said.

Unbridled’s Note (Last 3 Beyers: 89-100-99)

◗ Unbridled’s Note, 5, won the 2012 Eddie D Stakes and was second in the BC Turf Sprint.

◗ Last year, Unbridled’s Note was fourth in the BC Turf Sprint and won the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes on the hillside turf course in late December.

◗ Friday’s race will be the first start for Unbridled’s Note since a fourth-place finish in the Joe Hernandez Stakes here in February.

◗ Trained by Steve Asmussen, Unbridled’s Note has been training at Churchill Downs.


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 6 Unbridled's Note. Trainer Steve Asmussen is 6 for 55 with a $1.16 ROI over the past five years in turf races with runners returning from a layoff of 180 days or more. Click for more details. Mike Hogan


Pure Tactics (Last 3 Beyers: 80-93-92)

◗ Trained by Doug O’Neill, Pure Tactics won the Siren Lure Stakes on the hillside in June and an optional claimer on turf at Del Mar in July before finishing last of seven in the Jess Jackson Owners Handicap over five furlongs on turf at Santa Rosa on Aug. 9.

◗ A return to the hillside turf course could help Pure Tactics, who will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.