04/04/2015 8:03PM

Talco up in time in Thunder Road Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Talco (right) beats Winning Prize in the Thunder Road Stakes on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The tough trips that Talco encountered in many of his initial forays in U.S. racing are starting to even out. Talco lost his first five starts in this country, bad trips impacting him several times, but he has now won two straight following his late-running victory in the $82,000 Thunder Road Stakes, which closed out the 11-race Santa Anita Derby card Saturday.

Talco ($12.60) was able to find a narrow seam along the inside under Victor Espinoza and closed furiously to just catch the favored Winning Prize and win by a head in the one-mile grass race for older runners. Pure Tactics, the early pacesetter, was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

The victory was the fourth of the day for Espinoza and trainer John Sadler and the third for owner Kosta Hronis, their biggest triumph coming together in the Santa Anita Oaks with Stellar Wind.

“Good day at the office,” Sadler said. “It’s why we work so hard. This was rewarding, a lot of fun.”

It was a good day, too, for Santa Anita, which reported attendance of 38,647 to go along with an overall handle of $21,586,686.

Talco closed out the proceedings with his first stakes win. He had finished third to California Chrome in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last fall at Del Mar and was a tough-luck fifth in the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile on opening day here Dec. 26. He dipped into allowance company last time and won, then captured this listed stakes, which drew a graded-class field.

He was timed in 1:34.26 for one mile on firm turf.

“He needs to get a good turf trip,” said Sadler, acknowledging that Talco’s late-running style requires a bit of luck.

Both the allowance win and the Thunder Road were at a flat mile. Sadler said he’d like to point for races like that in the future.

“I think he’s a good miler. He’s got a nice turn of foot,” Sadler said.