02/04/2017 6:18PM

St. Joe Bay makes it two graded stakes wins in row

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Emily Shields
St. Joe Bay won his second consecutive stakes in the Palo Verdes on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - St. Joe Bay had repelled Ocho Ocho Ocho and faced a challenge from Moe Candy in early stretch of Saturday’s $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes for sprinters at Santa Anita.

It was a brief tussle.

St. Joe Bay led by a half-length with a furlong to go and won the Grade 2 race at six furlongs by 2 1/4 lengths over Moe Candy for his second consecutive graded stakes win. St. Joe Bay ($3.40) was timed in 1:08.75 under jockey Kent Desormeaux.

St. Joe Bay and Ocho Ocho Ocho disputed the lead through fractions of 21.48 seconds for a quarter-mile and 44.40 for a half-mile before Desormeaux asked his mount. Desormeaux said he got an immediate response, so much so that St. Joe Bay was running within himself in early stretch.

“He got about 100 yards of a breather,” Desormeaux said. “It worked out well.”

There were only four runners in the Palos Verdes Stakes. Ike Walker, claimed for $50,000 on Jan. 1, was last early and finished third, 6 1/2 lengths behind St. Joe Bay. Ocho Ocho Ocho faded to last in the field of four in his first start since June. Distinctive B was scratched on Saturday morning.

St. Joe Bay, a 5-year-old gelding by Saint Anddan, races for David Bernsen and trainer Peter Miller’s Altamira Racing Stable. St. Joe Bay finished in a dead heat with the Miller-trained Solid Wager in the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes here Dec. 31, his first stakes win.

The Palos Verdes Stakes was the third consecutive win for St. Joe Bay, a streak that began with a victory by 6 1/2 lengths in an optional-claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Dec. 4.

Prior to that, St. Joe Bay raced at a mile on turf and dirt for most of 2016. He will stay in sprints for the foreseeable future.