05/21/2016 9:08PM

Wild Dude wins, San Onofre breaks down in Kona Gold

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Benoit & Associates
Wild Dude, under Rafael Bejarano, wins the Grade 2 Kona Gold by a length.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Wild Dude won his third graded stakes in the last year in Saturday’s $201,035 Kona Gold Stakes at Santa Anita, a race marred by a fatal injury to leading contender San Onofre.

San Onofre, the winner of Grade 3 races here and at Los Alamitos earlier this year, was pulled up a furlong into the race by jockey Edwin Maldonado after suffering sesamoid injuries. He was euthanized after his condition was evaluated in the stable area.

Wild Dude ($11.20) ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.10, benefiting from a clean trip under jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Breaking from the rail in a field of eight, Wild Dude stalked a quick pace set by 4-5 favorite Subtle Indian while racing on the inside. Turning into the stretch, Wild Dude closed along the rail.

“The horse was very comfortable,” Bejarano said. “I knew there was a little speed. I decided to wait a little bit. I let him go in the stretch.”

Wild Dude finished a length in front of Subtle Indian, who was a half-length in front of Cautious Giant. Coastline finished fourth, followed by Souper Knight, Sahara Sky, and Dream Saturday.

Wild Dude, a 6-year-old horse, has won 8 of 22 starts and earned $1,095,232. By Wildcat Heir, Wild Dude races for Green Smith Jr. and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Wild Dude’s victory in the Grade 2 Kona Gold ended a three-race losing streak since a win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship here last October. Wild Dude won the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar last summer.

Last fall, Wild Dude was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland. Earlier this year, Wild Dude was sixth in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes here in March and second to San Onofre in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Stakes at Los Alamitos on April 16.

So Sweetitiz captures Mizdirection

So Sweetitiz won her stakes debut in Saturday’s $80,035 Mizdirection Stakes for fillies and mares on the hillside turf course.

Ridden by Mike Smith, So Sweetitiz took the lead shortly after the start and kept her advantage throughout, holding off a late threat from Miss Double d’Oro, a 2-1 shot. Swift Lady, the 9-5 favorite, finished third in the field of eight.

So Sweetitiz ($17) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in 1:13.70.

“She saved her best for the big day,” trainer Marty Jones said.

Owned by breeder Pamela Ziebarth, So Sweetitiz has won 3 of 7 starts and earned $132,090 By Grand Slam, the 4-year-old So Sweetitiz has won consecutive races on turf, having won an optional claimer on the hillside turf course on April 3.