05/29/2016 9:37PM

Si Sage leads parade of longshots in Charles Whittingham

Benoit & Associates
Si Sage, under Mike Smith, pays $25 for his front-running win in the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Si Sage was 15-1 on the morning-line for Sunday’s $201,725 Charles Whittingham Stakes at Santa Anita. To co-owner Jed Cohen, the price seemed a bit high.

“I was shocked when I saw the morning line,” he said.

Si Sage was sent off at 11-1, and earned the respect of everyone when he raced on the lead throughout the Grade 2 race at 1 1/4 miles on turf to score an upset. Ridden by Mike Smith, Si Sage ($25) won by 2 1/2 lengths over 32-1 Patentar. Montego Bay, a 20-1 outsider, finished third in the field of 10.

Bal a Bali, the 7-5 favorite, could only finish fourth after racing behind Si Sage for the first mile.

The presence of three longshots led to significant payoffs. The $1 trifecta paid $3,812. The 10-cent superfecta paid $21,343.

Si Sage was timed in 1:59.48.

Si Sage was fourth in the Grade 3 American Stakes on May 6, a race scheduled for turf but moved to a wet-fast main track because of a day of rain. The Whittingham Stakes was Si Sage’s third start of the year.

Smith had Si Sage in front by a half-length after a quarter-mile, the closest any of his rivals were to the front. Si Sage led by 1 1/2 lengths on the backstretch and by a length on the turn. He pulled clear in early stretch, leading by two lengths with a furlong remaining.

“It’s nice to have a nice horse and be able to show it,” Cohen said.

Patentar, who had his American stakes debut in the Whittingham, closed from fourth to be second in early stretch.

“We thought he’d run very well,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “At one point, I thought…:”

In April 2015, Si Sage won the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf at 42-1, a race with similar conditions as the Whittingham Stakes. Cohen, who races as Red Baron’s Barn, co-owns Si Sage with Rancho Temescal and Vayaconsuerte, LLC. Si Sage has won 5 of 26 starts and earned $381,795.

The Charles Whittingham was Si Sage’s second stakes win. A 6-year-old French-bred by the Johannesburg stallion Sageburg, Si Sage was imported to the United States from France in the summer of 2013.

Si Sage was trained by Darrell Vienna until mid-April when the veteran trainer retired. The Whittingham Stakes was Si Sage’s second start for trainer Jim Cassidy.