04/10/2011 8:10PM

Santa Anita: Surrey Star gets right trip in La Puente Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Surrey Star wins Sunday’s $100,000 La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A ground-saving trip by jockey Joe Talamo on Surrey Star was the difference between a win and a loss to stablemate Major Art in Sunday’s $100,000 La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita.

Talamo had Surrey Star on the rail on the backstretch and stayed inside on the turn, while jockey Victor Espinoza guided Major Art three wide on the final turn. The margin between the two at the finish was only a half-length.

Major Art, the 2-1 favorite, finished 1 1/2 lengths clear of pacesetter Jakesam.

The first two finishers, both colts, were bred in Europe and were acquired there last fall for the Class Racing Stable of Joe Masino and Tom Arndt. Yes, Masino said he had the exacta, which paid $9.

Surrey Star ($7.60) ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.70, his first stakes in his fourth start for trainer Jim Cassidy. In England last year, Surrey Star beat maidens at Epsom and was second, beaten a nose in the Group 2 Tattersall Stakes at Newmarket in September. He was third in two other stakes before being shipped to California.

By Dubawi, Surrey Star has won 2 of 12 starts and $117,196. Major Art, trained by Eric Kruljac, won an allowance race over a mile on turf on March 18 in his last start before the La Puente.

King Cola, a 14-1 outsider, did not finish the La Puente. He lost his footing on the turn and was pulled up by jockey Brice Blanc. King Cola did not appear to be hurt.

Three horses lost footing on the turn on the turf course Sunday. Orbach fell in the first race when he lost his footing, but trainer Tim Yakteen said the colt was not injured. Yakteen also trains King Cola.

After the La Puente, Yakteen spoke with track stewards about the incidents.

“I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he said.

Santa Anita director of racing Mike Harlow spoke with track stewards regarding the turf course after the La Puente. Harlow said the course will undergo a procedure late Sunday and Monday to ensure better footing. Harlow said the course will be aerated, which will allow horses to get better traction.

A similar procedure was done on the week of March 21 after an incident in the Santa Ana Stakes on March 19, when two horses lost their footing on the final turn.