08/05/2012 7:28PM

Santa Rosa: Santa Rosa: Shudacudawudya improves second time on turf in Jess Jackson

Vassar Photography
Shudacudwudya outfinishes favored Ain't No Other by a neck in the Jess Jackson Owners' Handicap.

Shudacudawudya, eased in his only other turf start, unleashed a strong rally to finish a neck in front of odds-on favorite Ain’t No Other in the $66,850 Jess Jackson Owners’ Handicap on Sunday at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa.

Shudacudawudya  ($6.80) was taken off the pace by jockey Julien Couton, who was willing to sit patiently in sixth, ahead of only one rival.

After setting the pace for the opening quarter in a five-way battle, longshot Barrel Knot was overtaken by Starboardlights and Ain’t No Other, who continued to fight for the lead into the stretch.

Shudacudawudya angled four wide for room on the turn and was in full stride heading down the stretch. He quickly passed Starboardlights and then wore down Ain’t No Other, who was first under the wire in the race last year before being disqualified.

Ain’t No Other, five wide in the early contested pace continued gamely but couldn’t hold off the winner, who covered five furlongs on the turf in 58.04 seconds. Starboardlights was third another 2¼  lengths back.

Shudacudawudya, a Brett Mason homebred by Marino Marini, earned $41,450 for his third stakes win. Trained by Brett’s father, Lloyd, the 5-year-old gelding has won 8 of 17 starts and $287,869.

* Control Seeker ($16.80) notched his first stakes victory and first win of 2012  when he sat close to the pace and pulled clear in the stretch to win the $62,750 Joseph T. Grace Handicap.

Trainer Keith Nations said before the race that he was hoping the consistent 6-year-old Control Seeker could come up with a big race, and the son of Sought After did just that. He sat in third behind Royal Dream, who set a leisurely pace in the 1 1/16-mile turf race. He began to move closer as jockey Francisco Duran put him in the clear in the three path on the second turn and got fanned a bit wider coming into the stretch.

His closing kick proved too strong for Royal Dream, who was then nosed out for second by late-running Acaffella, who finished 1 1/2  lengths behind the winner. Control Seeker’s winning time was 1:44.84.

Control Seeker won for the first time in five 2012 starts, but he was third in a turf race at Golden Gate Fields that included nine of the 10 runners competing in the Grace. He then ran second at Sacramento.

Control Seeker, second in the ImSmokin’ at Del Mar as a 2-year-old, earned $42,300 for owners Edward and Theresa DeNike, who claimed him 13 months ago. He has earned $260,273 with 7 victories in 33 starts.