06/05/2016 5:00PM

Hunt confirms affinity for hillside course in Siren Lure

Benoit & Associates
Hunt is now 4 for 5 on the hillside turf course after winning the Siren Lure under Flavien Prat.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Hunt could be a dangerous runner in major races on the hillside turf course at the Santa Anita autumn meeting later this year. Hunt showed his affection for the course with his first career stakes win in Sunday’s $79,000 Siren Lure Stakes.

The win left trainer Phil D’Amato wondering how to get Hunt into the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint here on Nov. 5. The stable may have strength in numbers in the division. In the Siren Lure, Hunt outran Toowindytohaulrox, who finished well in his second start since a win in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes on the hillside turf course on Dec. 26.

Hunt ($3.40) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:12.73, benefiting from a perfect ride by jockey Flavien Prat. Hunt stalked pacesetter Act for the first half-mile, took the lead when the field crossed onto the main turf oval, and won by 1 1/2 lengths.

Act finished third, followed by Miss Double d’Oro and Opsec.

Hunt has won 4 of 5 starts on the hillside turf course since first racing on the surface in early February. His only loss was a third to Guns Loaded and Rocket Heat in the Joe Hernandez Stakes on Feb. 28.

The Hernandez has proven to be productive race. Guns Loaded won the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes on the hillside turf course on April 2 and was fifth behind Rocket Heat in the Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6. Guns Loaded and Rocket Heat are probable starters for the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational at six furlongs on turf at Belmont Park on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes undercard.

Hunt, a 4-year-old Irish-bred gelding by Dark Angel, has won 5 of 16 starts and $221,729. Owned by Michael House, Hunt joined D’Amato’s stable last summer and was fourth in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at 1 1/8 miles here last October in his stakes debut.

D’Amato said that Hunt may be raced sparingly at the Del Mar summer meeting and could start around two turns. At the autumn meeting, Hunt could run in the $100,000 Eddie D Stakes on the hillside turf course in late September in advance of an intended start in the BC Turf Sprint.