04/06/2013 5:56PM

Santa Anita: Jimmy Creed scores in Potrero Grande

Benoit & Associates
Jimmy Creed, with Garrett Gomez in the saddle, wins the Potrero Grande for his fourth victory in eight starts.

ARCADIA, Calif. - After Jimmy Creed won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on opening day here at Santa Anita, trainer Richard Mandella was looking to run him farther in the remaining legs of the Strub Series. A cough took him out of commission for most of the meet, but Jimmy Creed began to make up for lost time on Saturday.

Jimmy Creed, in his first start since the Malibu on Dec. 26, scored a stylish win in the Grade 2, $150,250 Potrero Grande Handicap for older sprinters. And about that chance to stretch out? Well, the Strub Series is long gone, but the Met Mile at Belmont likely awaits, Mandella said.

“Most likely the Met Mile,” Mandella said of Jimmy Creed’s next major goal. “After he got to coughing, we just waited and wanted him to do what we knew he could do, and see if that carries us now to the Met Mile.”

Jimmy Creed ($4.40), the favorite, got a comfortable trip from the outside post of 6 in the 6 1/2-furlong Potrero Grande. He hounded Comma to the Top through fractions of 22.17 seconds for the opening quarter and 44.78 seconds for a half-mile, took command entering the lane, and safely held off Unbridled’s Note to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:15.03 on the fast main track.

Apriority was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third and was followed, in order, by Comma to the Top, Camp Victory, and Second City. Haverhill and Italian Rules were scratched on Friday.

Jimmy Creed gave Mandella, jockey Garrett Gomez, and the Spendthrift Farm of owner B. Wayne Hughes their second significant win on the card, having teamed earlier to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks with Beholder.

Jimmy Creed, 4, was purchased by Hughes as a yearling for $900,000. He has now won four times in eight starts.

** Earlier in the day, Battle Force ($16.40) ran down a stubborn Fed Biz in the final yards to capture the $75,000 Thunder Road Stakes for older turf horses by a head, with Tigah another length back in third in the field of nine. Battle Force was back on his favorite surface after finishing fourth on dirt in the San Fernando on Jan. 12.

The Thunder Road was the first stakes win for Battle Force, but he owned a pair of placings in graded turf stakes, the 2011 Generous (third) and the 2012 Sir Beaufort (second). Corey Nakatani was up for trainer John Shirreffs. Battle Force, owned by Woodford Racing, was timed in 1:32.94 for one mile on turf. He has now won twice in seven starts, but has finished in the money in all five of his grass races.