Updated on 09/16/2011 7:37AM

Wooden Phone captures San Pasqual


ARCADIA, Calif. - Despite a trip that his owner described as "the worst he's had," Wooden Phone won Saturday's $200,000 San Pasqual Handicap* (click here for chart) at Santa Anita, joining the list of contenders for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in March.

Little went right for Wooden Phone in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap, run over 1 1-16 miles. Customarily a frontrunner, Wooden Phone never made the lead. He rallied wide on both turns and on the backstretch and still prevailed by a head over Euchre.

Owned by Jim and Marilyn Helzer and Tom Durant and trained by Bob Baffert, Wooden Phone has won twice since returning in the fall from surgery to remove a bone chip in a knee. His next start is expected in the $300,000 San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 3.

Ridden by David Flores, Wooden Phone broke from the outside post in the field of seven and never saved ground. Racing four-wide on the first turn, Wooden Phone remained wide on the backstretch, stalking Irisheyesareflying, who set fractions of 23.18 and 46.35.

"I've never seen him break that tardy," said Jim Helzer. "I thought he was beat on the backstretch. That's the worst trip he's had."

Wooden Phone ($4.20) was still in fourth-place racing four-wide on the final turn and was even wider entering the stretch. In midstretch, Irishesyesareflying was out of contention, but Wooden Phone and Euchre were closing well. In the final strides, Wooden Phone was going better and won by a head in 1:41.83.

"In the last 100 yards, he showed a big heart," Baffert said.

Euchre finished three-quarters of a length in front of Red Eye, a 43-1 longshot. Seinne, Irisheyesareflying, Last Parade and Casey Griffin completed the order of finish.

The 5-year-old Wooden Phone has won 5 of 14 starts and $830,236. The San Pasqual was his first stakes win since the Grade 2 Strub Stakes over this track in February 2001.

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