04/09/2016 8:51PM

Tough It Out copies Exaggerator's style in Echo Eddie

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Benoit & Associates
Tough It Out, ridden by Joe Talamo, rallies from eighth to take the Echo Eddie.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Exaggerator was not the only 3-year-old to close from off the pace to win a rich stakes on Saturday’s 12-race program at Santa Anita.

An hour after Exaggerator won the $1,000,690 Santa Anita Derby, Tough It Out won the first stakes of his career in the $200,345 Echo Eddie Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old sprinters. Exaggerator’s style of victory led trainer Phil D’Amato to suggest a similar trip for jockey Joe Talamo on Tough It Out in a pre-race strategy session.

“I told Joe, ‘Do exactly what Exaggerator did,’ ” D’Amato said. “I wanted him to let the horse get his feet underneath him and make a move.”

Tough It Out ($12.20) closed from eighth in a field of nine to win the Echo Eddie at 6 1/2 furlongs by 4 1/2 lengths over 6-1 Gold Rush Dancer. Xingontothebone, a 4-1 shot, finished third, followed by Glory Bound, Record Highs, Brandothebartender, Tough But Nice, and Demonslayer.

Tough But Nice was the 7-5 favorite and was second for the first half-mile before fading from contention. Bully Pulpit, who was third early, was pulled up in early stretch.

Tough It Out ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.60 on a sloppy, sealed racetrack. Owned by breeder Nick Alexander, Tough It Out has won 2 of 8 starts and earned $212,790.

A gelding by Grazen, Tough It Out was third in the King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos in December and second in the California Cup Derby here in January.

Tough It Out was third and fourth in allowance races against older California-breds in February and March. D’Amato said the move back to competition with California-bred 3-year-olds was a key to a win on Saturday. He mentioned the $150,000 California Chrome Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles at Los Alamitos on April 30 as a possibility for Tough It Out.