Updated on 09/17/2011 11:20AM

Passinetti wins San Juan Capistrano

Benoit Photo
Passinetti ($24.20) rallies to win by a half-length over All the Boys in Sunday's $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Passinetti, who missed three years of racing and was nearly given away as a riding horse, completed a remarkable comeback with a hard-fought victory in Sunday's $400,000 at Santa Anita.

Making his fourth start since returning to the races in February, Passinetti rallied from fifth on the final turn to win the turf marathon by a half-length over All the Boys. Champion Lodge, the 6-5 favorite, finished third in a field of nine.

Passinetti finished about 1 3-4 miles on turf in 2:46.97. Ridden by Brice Blanc, the 7-year-old Passinetti was given a ground saving trip for most of the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano. For the first mile, Blanc was content keeping Passinetti along the rail and in fourth-place. They continued to race inside on the backstretch and moved closer to the frontrunners on the final turn.

With a wide rally, Passinetti moved to third in mid-stretch and caught All the Boys in the final sixteenth.

"I wanted to save some ground and give him a chance," Blanc said. "I didn't want to get him caught three or four wide. He rallied nicely down the lane."

All the Boys, an 11-1 chance making his stakes debut, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Champion Lodge, who rallied late. Champion Lodge carried highweight of 117 pounds, while Pasinetti carried 111.

Nazirali finished fourth, followed by Timber Cruiser, Delta Form, Special Matter, Adminniestrator and Noble Kinsman.

Passinetti was making his third start in a month. The winner of an optional claimer on March 19, Passinetti finished fourth by a length in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap over 1 1-8 miles on turf on April 6.

"I wasn't really surprise he won because I watched his race the other day and I thought he ran well," Blanc said of the Arcadia.

Trained by Ben Cecil for Gary Tanaka, Passinetti has won 3 of 17 starts and $387,976.

"It's a miracle," Cecil said of Passinetti's comeback. "We hoped we could get him back for high-priced claimers. We never dreamt of the San Juan Capistrano."