02/02/2008 12:00AM

Monterey Jazz begins anew with Strub victory


ARCADIA, Calif. - After 11 races, the career of Monterey Jazz is now officially under way. At least that was trainer Craig Dollase's point of view following Monterey Jazz's front-running victory in Saturday's $300,000 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.

Leading by as many as seven lengths on the backstretch, Monterey Jazz remained unbeaten around two turns with a comprehensive win in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds.

"We’ve got a brand new horse," Dollase said. "He's the real deal. He wanted to stretch out and I didn't know it."

Monterey Jazz led from the start and was never challenged. Ridden by David Flores, Monterey Jazz set a quick pace of 22.76 and 45.89 seconds and kept going. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.65, just missing the track record of 1:45.64 set by Go Between in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic a week earlier.

The style of the win was not a concern to Dollase.

"That’s the way he is," he said. "He's a free runner and he trains that way, too. He's got no stop in him. I'm sure the track played a little in his favor, but that's okay. We'll take it."

Monterey Jazz finished 4 1/2 lengths in front of Tiago, the even-money favorite and a three-time stakes winner. Tiago was last of eight early and rallied through traffic in the stretch. Monzante finished third, five lengths behind the winner.

Monterey Jazz won 2 of 8 starts in sprints and is unbeaten in three starts at a mile or farther. Owned by Class Racing Stable and A&R Stables, the Thunderello colt has won 5 of 11 starts and $347,740.

He may return in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 1, Dollase said.

Storm Military takes Thunder Road

A resilient Storm Military led throughout the $81,150 Thunder Road Handicap, winning his first stakes since arriving in the United States from Argentina in early 2007.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Storm Military fought for the lead with Lang Field for the first six furlongs before pulling clear to win the one-mile turf race in 1:34.17. Mr Napper Tandy finished second, three lengths behind Storm Military.

Frank the Barber, who was stuck in traffic on the turn, rallied to finish third in the field of 10.

Storm Military ($5.20) was making his fourth start in the United States. Owned by a partnership and trained by Bobby Frankel, Storm Military has won 8 of 13 starts and $178,022. A 6-year-old horse by Bernstein, Storm Military won two Group 1 races in Argentina in the winter of 2006-07.