01/23/2016 9:12PM

Former claimer Lost Bus springs $131.20 upset in Santa Monica


ARCADIA, Calif. - Lost Bus was claimed for $32,000 at Del Mar on Nov. 19, the day she finished fourth in a one-mile turf race. It was more difficult to assess her value by dusk on Saturday.

Lost Bus ($131.20) won the first stakes of her career in the $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita, a Grade 2 race at seven furlongs for fillies and mares.

Understandably, the win exceeded expectations of trainer Gary Sherlock, who trains the 4-year-old California-bred Lost Bus for Terry Lovingier.

“I was running for third and it turned out better than that,” Sherlock said.

The longest shot in the field, Lost Bus won by a head over 8-1 Finest City and had to survive an objection by jockey Corey Nakatani to retain the win. Nakatani, who rode Finest City, contended Lost Bus drifted out in the stretch and cost his mount a win. The stewards disagreed, stating the contact occurred after the wire.

“If I don’t get bumped, I win it,” said a frustrated Nakatani.

Lost Bus, who was ridden by Fernando Perez, raced near the front throughout and was timed in 1:21.78. She earned $120,000.

Perez had Lost Bus in third-place after a quarter-mile in 22.42 seconds, racing a half-length behind early pacesetter Finest City. Lost Bus led by a half-length over Finest City after a half-mile and held an advantage by that margin with a furlong to go. Finest City reduced the difference in the final strides, but could not catch Lost Bus.

“I told Fernando to go to the front,” Sherlock said.

Tara’s Tango, the 3-1 favorite, finished third. She was second early and dropped back to fifth on the turn before closing well through the stretch. Living the Life was fourth, followed by Kiss At Midnight, Room for Me, Prize Exhibit, Kyriaki, and Ben’s Duchess.

Lost Bus, a 4-year-old filly by the In Excess stallion Bring the Heat, has won 3 of 11 starts and earned $256,018. She was second and third in stakes for California-bred 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar in the summer of 2014 when trained by Blake Heap, but did not run in another stakes until she finished third in the Kalookan Queen Stakes here on Dec. 30 in her second start for Lovingier and Sherlock.

“We claimed her because Terry wanted the filly,” Sherlock said. “He wanted her for breeding down the road.”