01/28/2012 5:43PM

Santa Anita: Hot pace sets up Holladay Road in Crystal Water

Benoit & Associates
Holladay Road came from far back under Rafael Bejarano to win the Crystal Water.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The wider the margin grew between the pacesetters and Holladay Road in the first half of Saturday’s $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes at Santa Anita, the less that jockey Rafael Bejarano worried.

For the first half-mile of the race over 1 1/16 miles, Bejarano had Holladay Road 10 to 11 lengths behind pacesetters Bluegrass Reward and Macho Dorado, who set a torrid pace of 22.22 and 44.97 seconds.

“They tried to kill each other,” Bejarano said. “I knew there would be plenty of speed in the race.”

There was so much speed that Bejarano guided Holladay Road from last in the field of six to win the Crystal Water for California-breds. Winning his first stakes, Holladay Road prevailed by 2 1/2 lengths over Macho Dorado, who ran well considering the quick pace. Trained by Julio Canani for Gary and Wendy Broad, Holladay Road ($6.60) was timed in 1:41.25.

Bejarano gave Holladay Road an ideal ride. On the backstretch, the jockey moved his mount closer to the leaders on the rail and Holladay Road trailed by 2 1/2 lengths on the turn.

“From the half-mile, they were spread out and I moved on the rail,” Bejarano said. “I got into position and then gave my horse a little air.”

The breather worked. Holladay Road was second to Macho Dorado in early stretch and took the lead passing the eighth pole. Spud Spivens finished third, followed by 9-5 favorite Thirtyfirststreet, Legal Separation, and Bluegrass Rewards.

Holladay Road, a 7-year-old gelding by Street Cry, has won 6 of 13 starts and $231,820. The Crystal Water Stakes was his second stakes race, preceded by a third in the California Cup Classic here on turf last October.