04/05/2014 3:45PM

Santa Anita: Alert Bay shows he can handle dirt by taking Echo Eddie

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ARCADIA, Calif. - The $25,000 supplement that made Alert Bay eligible for Saturday’s $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes at Santa Anita paid a quick dividend.

Making his stakes debut, Alert Bay ($20.20) closed from fifth in a field of eight to win the Echo Eddie for California-bred 3-year-olds by a half-length over 7-1 Life is a Joy. The victory gave trainer Blaine Wright, 39, his first stakes win at Santa Anita.

Alert Bay was ridden by Tyler Baze, who gave the gelding by City Zip a patient ride. Baze kept Alert Bay two to four lengths off the quick pace of 21.61 and 43.76 seconds set by Oh Daddy Oh through the first half-mile. Alert Bay was second to Oh Daddy Oh with furlong remaining and held off a late run from Life Is a Joy, who closed from last.

Well Measured, a 9-1 chance, finished third, followed by Pray Hard, Gangnam Guy, Oh Daddy Oh, Frensham, and Whine for Wine, the 2-1 favorite.

Alert Bay ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.61 and earned $110,000 for owner Peter Redekop.

“We told Tyler the track is tight today and stay as close as you can, but don’t take his run away from him,” Wright said.

Alert Bay has won 3 of 6 starts and $187,800. The Echo Eddie Stakes was his first start on a dirt track. He beat maidens here in a one-mile turf race on Feb. 2 and won an optional claimer over a mile on the Tapeta Footings synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 23. In 2013, Alert Bay was second in three consecutive races on the synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields.

“We were taking a shot with him,” Wright said. “We figured this was as good a time to try him on the dirt and see if it would work.”

The Echo Eddie Stakes is part of the Golden State series of stakes for California-breds run throughout the year. Alert Bay is eligible for the series for the rest of his career following the payment of the supplemental fee for Saturday’s race.