Updated on 09/17/2011 12:49PM

Star Cross takes San Pasqual


ARCADIA, Calif. - Star Cross had the annoying habit of failing to turn left whenever he reached a turn, so late last year, trainer Darrell Vienna added an extension blinker to his equipment. It has turned him around.

Star Cross won a minor stakes race at Golden Gate Fields in November in his first start with the new equipment, and on Saturday at Santa Anita he earned the first graded stakes win of his career when he rallied to capture the Grade 2, $150,000 .

Victor Espinoza, who won three races on Saturday, vigorously urged Star Cross to get up in the final strides to catch Nose The Trade, who had opened a two-length lead at the eighth pole. Star Cross won by a half-length, with Nose The Trade three lengths in front of third-place Olmodavor, the 3-2 favorite.

The Argentine-bred Star Cross ($19.40), a 7-year-old son of Southern Halo, was imported to this country by the E.A. Ranches of Ernest Auerbach. He lost his first six starts in this country, but has now won two in a row. His next start most likely will be the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 6, Vienna said.

"He's a good horse if he learns how to run, and he's starting to learn," Vienna said.

Hot Market rocketed to the lead and set fractions of 22.80 seconds, 45.84 seconds, and 1:09.69 for the first six furlongs. Nose The Trade was just off his flank, and the wicked pace weakened Nose The Trade in the shadow of the wire. Star Cross was fourth at the top of the stretch, but closed with determination to prevail in 1:42.22 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track.

The victory was the eighth in 23 starts for Star Cross.

The biggest disappointment in the race was Olmodavor, who beat Nose The Trade in Hollywood's Native Diver Handicap last month. Olmodavor balked when he first got to the gate, then raced wide and never kicked in.