Updated on 09/16/2011 6:46AM

Mizzen Mast triumphs in Strub

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The rise of Mizzen Mast in the handicap division on dirt in the last two months has been a stroke of luck, trainer Bobby Frankel admits.

"He trained well on it and I have a lot of grass horses," Frankel said. "It worked out right."

On Saturday at Santa Anita, Mizzen Mast remained perfect on dirt with a convincing win in the $400,000 Strub Stakes*, a prep for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.

Racing against a strong field of 4-year-olds, Mizzen Mast won by four lengths under Kent Desormeaux. The final time of 1:47.25 for 1 1-8 miles was a stakes record, but the race has only been run at that distance for five years.

Sent off at 9-5, Mizzen Mast was always well-placed under Desormeaux. After breaking from post 4 in the field of 11, Mizzen Mast was sixth on the first turn, chasing Orientate and Giant Gentlemen, who zipped the first quarter-mile in 22.28 seconds. The position initially worried Frankel.

"I thought we might have been too far back, but I thought he was in a good spot into the (first) turn," Frankel said.

On the backstretch, after a half-mile in 45.12 seconds and six furlongs in 1:09.20, Mizzen Mast was fourth, trailing Orientate by 2 1-2 lengths.

"I felt good because he was doing it easy," Frankel said.

On the final turn, Mizzen Mast rallied three-wide to reach the leaders before turning for home.

"He was just breezing up to those horses," Frankel said. "He looks like a push button horse."

Mizzen Mast took the lead before the eighth pole and drew off for the most lucrative win of his 11 race career. "Once we turned for home, it was just a matter of letting him go," Desormeaux said.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Mizzen Mast has won five races and $577,714. By Cozzene, he was a Group 3 winner in France last year and won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 in his main track debut. The recent results have been quite a turnaround from his ninth place finish in the Del Mar Derby last September his first start for Frankel.

"We learned he can rate," Frankel said. "He's done well since."

Giant Gentlemen, second to Mizzen Mast in the Malibu, finished second on Saturday despite contributing to the fast pace. Fancy As, the seven-time stakes winner in Canada last year, finished third, losing by 8 1-2 lengths.

I Love Silver finished fourth, and was followed by Discreet Hero, Orientate, Western Pride, Palmeiro, and Pie N Burger. Scorpion was eased in the stretch.

Momentum was pulled up in early stretch and vanned off.

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