10/26/2014 7:40PM

Pure Tactics wires Lure Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Pure Tactics and jockey Rafael Bejarano win the Lure Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths Sunday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – In the summer, there was thought in trainer Doug O’Neill’s stable that Pure Tactics could be a Breeders’ Cup runner this fall. That was scotched when Pure Tactics finished seventh in the Jess Jackson Owners Handicap at Santa Rosa in early August.

Pure Tactics restored his reputation Sunday with a win in the $80,850 Lure Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita. While the result will not lead to a start in a Breeders’ Cup race here Friday or Saturday, the win does give owner Doug Cole more options for the last months of this year and 2015.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Pure Tactics ($9.40) led throughout the Lure Stakes, dueling with Boyett for a half-mile before drawing off by 6 1/2 lengths over 11-1 Power Ped. Pure Tactics was timed in 1:33.22.

Leandro Mora, typically O’Neill’s assistant, saddled Pure Tactics. Mora is the official trainer of the stable until mid-December while O’Neill serves a suspension for a medication violation.

Mora and Bejarano talked tactics before the race, with Bejarano suggesting that Pure Tactics may be best served racing from a stalking position. The idea was abandoned when Pure Tactics broke sharply, Mora said.

“He knew he couldn’t choke him down,” Mora said.

Pure Tactics set fractions of 23.85 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and a half-mile in 46.60 seconds.

The Lure Stakes was restricted to horses who had not won a stakes worth $55,000 to the winner, other than statebreds races, at a mile or longer this year.

Starspangled Heat finished third, a result that may have ramifications for the Breeders’ Cup. Starspangled Heat has been pre-entered for Saturday’s BC Turf over 1 1/2 miles. Trainer Barry Abrams said before the Lure that he hoped to run Starspangled Heat in both races.

Hay Dude finished fourth, followed by Boyett, Old Time Hockey, Smart Ellis, and Drill. Old Time Hockey was beaten 2 1/4 lengths for second and was unlucky through the stretch, racing in traffic without a clear path.

Pure Tactics, a 5-year-old horse by Pure Prize, has won 8 of 19 starts and earned $313,606. Aside from the Siren Lure Stakes in June on the hillside turf course, Pure Tactics has one other stakes win – the minor Barksdale Stakes at Louisiana Downs in 2013, when trained by Morris Nicks.