03/16/2013 8:16PM

Santa Anita: Bright Thought brilliant in Grade 2 San Luis Rey

Benoit & Associaties
Bright Thought scored by 3 1/4 lengths while making his stakes debut Saturday in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Bright Thought hasn’t hit his ceiling yet, and that’s a scary thought because he turned in a freakish performance in the Grade 2, $150,750 San Luis Rey Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, powering to a course-record win by 3 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/2-mile grass race.

Bright Thought ($7.40) was on or near the lead throughout under Victor Espinoza, and though this was his first time at the distance, he kept on motoring and won comfortably in 2:22.72, 0.08 seconds faster than the previous record held by Hawkster since Oct. 14, 1989.

All Squared Away was second, three-quarters of a length in front of Fire With Fire. Interaction was fourth and was followed by Slim Shadey, Tiz Gianni, Bourbon Bay, and Huntsville. John Scott was scratched Friday.

The first three furlongs of the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey come down a hill, hence a final time that is quicker than what would be expected if the race was on a level course throughout. Regardless, that should not take away from Bright Thought’s performance. He is a rising star.

“He’s an unbelievable horse; he’s an unbelievable talent,” Espinoza said. “He has the speed, but he can rate too.”

Bright Thought was once risked in a $25,000 maiden-claiming race at Laurel and still had first-level allowance conditions when he returned to trainer Jorge Gutierrez earlier this year following a foray East. Gutierrez put Bright Thought on turf, and magic happened.

Bright Thought won a starter allowance – the Super Bowl Party Handicap – on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, then was a dazzling winner in a first-level allowance Feb. 21. The San Luis Rey was his stakes debut.

Marjorie Dye and Alex Venneri own Bright Thought, who was bred in partnership by Venneri. Bright Thought, 4, is a colt by the Sunday Silence sire Hat Trick, and he’s out of the Smart Strike mare Smart Thought. He has won four times in seven starts.

Michael More than 1 year ago
The time is amazing and must be the real deal since he beat a fair field.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
That's not real turf racing there. 2:22 ? seriously ?
Jordan More than 1 year ago
With Acclamation in semi-retirement, Champ Pegasus still MIA, and Bourbon Bay on the rapid descent portion of the downhill side of his career, the West Caost marathon turf division desperately needed an infusion of talent, and Bright Thought has turned out to be the one. What this article doesn't mention is that Bright Thought won that Sper Bowl starter at a mile and did it in 1:33, and then won that allowance at 10 furlongs in 1:57 and change. Now 12 furlongs in 2:22! The Santa Anita course has been blazing since last fall, and there hasn't been much rain this winter. But still. Bright Thought ran hard all race, taking the lead early, successfully rating when Stevens went aggressive with Slim Shadey, and then kicked on when challenged by All Squared Away(who's turned out to be a solid grade 2 marathon turfer) and Fire With Fire. The question is, what to do with Bright Thgought? Distance is not an issue. The San Juan would seem logical, but that race can knock a horse out for a while. Bright Thought still has much to prove, because the horses he beat today are many lengths inferior to the likes of a Point of Entry. So, I'm concerned that the big races back East might be a little much. But if Bright Thought continues to improve, who knows? He likely will have to ship sometimes because the Cali marathon turf division no longer offers a grade 1 for older males.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Bright Thought! Yes! This Hat Trick colt looked FAB today winning the San Luis Rey today at Santa Anita. Bright Thought was given a very smart ride by Victor Espinoza and Bright Thought was flying down the stretch in a speedy, very impressive win. Sunday Silence woul be proud of this effort! I was a little surprised Bright Thought went off 5-2, I thought he would go off around 7-2 or 4-1, but 5-2 is a good value, too. Congratulations to Bright Thought and all of his connections on a great win. This win also made me nostalgic for Sunday Silence. Every time a Hat Trick horse does well here in the States, or any of Sunday Silence's progeny does well in major stakes races anywhere in the world (Arc de Triomphe, Japan Triple Crown, Japan Cup, Hong Kong Cup, etc., etc.), I smile and feel triumphant vindication for the great Sunday Silence. Way to go, SS!
Jason Landman More than 1 year ago
This horse is a freak. Monster effort. Hope Jorge ships him to Churchill for the Woodford Reserve on the Derby undercard.
Jeffrey Mathews More than 1 year ago
OHHH YEAH!! sunday silence's kids have finally invaded america!! we r now getting what japan has had 4 15+yrs this is going 2 b fun year silentio&bright thought r only the beginning get ur popcorn ready racing fans but 222 3/5 my goodness!!
Gerardo Helguera More than 1 year ago
He's turned into a moster!
Charles Levy More than 1 year ago
You could of claimed him for 25k !!!!!!!