01/07/2012 8:09PM

Santa Anita: Uh Oh Bango holds off favored Tres Borrachos in San Pasqual

Shigeki Kikkawa
Mike Smith guides Uh Oh Bango to victory in the Grade 2 San Pasqual.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It was a family affair at Santa Anita on Saturday for trainer Kory Owens, whose homebred Uh Oh Bango scored a mild upset in the Grade 2, $150,000 San Pasqual Stakes to establish himself as one of the top contenders for the Santa Anita Handicap two months hence.

Uh Oh Bango ($16) stalked the early pace of Skipshot, surged to front heading into the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile race, and safely held off Tres Borrachos, the 2-1 favorite, to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Skipshot faded to third, and was followed, in order, by Tweebster, Java Man, Utopian, and Massone.

Mike Smith rode Uh Oh Bango, who covered 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:41.44. The win was the fifth in 17 starts for Uh Oh Bango, 5, and pushed his earnings to $543,712.

Owens and his family’s AAA Ranch, based in Arizona, bred and own Uh Oh Bango. They own his stallion, Top Hit, an Oklahoma Derby winner whom Owens trained. They own the mare, French Debutante, who also produced the stakes-winning Ez Dreamer and the colt Ez Effort, the runner-up in his debut in Saturday’s final race. The only outsider Saturday was jockey Mike Smith, who rode Uh Oh Bango. Perhaps he should marry into the family.

“He galloped out strong to about the half-mile pole, so there’s more left,” Smith said.

Uh Oh Bango won twice in nine starts last year, his biggest win coming in the Grade 3 Berkeley at Golden Gate.