01/28/2012 6:03PM

Santa Anita: Patience pays off for Compari in Sensational Star


ARCADIA, Calif. - A younger Compari may not have been as patient as the 6-year-old model in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes at Santa Anita.

Compari was third in a field of five on the hillside portion of the race over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf course, stalking Ain’t No Other and My Summer Slew. Entering the stretch, Compari moved closer to the leaders and rallied between them to take the lead in the final furlong.

The Sensational Star Stakes was the fifth career stakes win for Compari.

“He relaxes more in his races,” trainer Marty Jones said of the veteran Compari. “He’s a lot more versatile than he used to be.”

Ridden by Mike Smith, Compari ($4) was timed in a quick 1:12.02 in the race for California-breds. Compari finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of 13-1 My Summer Slew, who held off a late threat from Red Defense to retain second by a half-length. Ain’t No Other was fourth, followed by Tamarack Smarty.

As the race unfolded, co-owner John Harris became more and more confident.

“That was a neat race,” Harris said. “You could see the hole. You could have put the Eighth Army through there.”

Compari has won 8 of 14 starts and $570,430 for breeders Harris, John Nicoletti, and Don Valpredo. A gelding by Redattore, Compari had a perfect January, having won an optional claimer over a mile on turf here on Jan. 5. Earlier in his career, he won the Sensational Star Handicap – when the race was a handicap - the Crystal Water Handicap and the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes, all in the winter and spring of 2010.

The Sensational Star Stakes changed dramatically with the scratch of morning-line favorite Caracortado on Saturday morning because of a tender foot. The outsiders Luckarack and Megaheat were scratched on Friday. Luckarack was second in an optional claimer in Saturday’s first race; Megaheat starts in an optional claimer on Sunday.