Creative Cause reaffirmed his rank as California’s leading 3-year-old on Saturday with a game victory over 2-1 favorite Bodemeister in the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.
Owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington, Creative Cause, a son of Giant’s Causeway, rallied wide from mid-pack to run down Bodemeister in the stretch and notch the narrow victory. Ridden by Joel Rosario, Creative Cause stopped the timer in 1:41.84 for the 1 1/16 miles.
“The race set up perfect today,” said Rosario. “There were a couple horses with speed up front, and when I saw that, I just let him find his stride and go from there. My horse was a little green at the top of the lane, but I wanted to make sure that he didn’t wait for another horse to come beat him.”
Rosario took the winner extremely wide around the final turn and as the field straightened away, Creative Cause drifted out even wider before his rider was able to square him away.
“He galloped out good after the wire which helps to show he may be the right horse for the (Kentucky) Derby. That means a lot to me. I’m happy to get a chance to ride in it, and I want to win the race.”
Creative Cause will likely assume the favorite’s role in the April 7 renewal of the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Six of the last 15 editions of the Santa Anita Derby have been won by the San Felipe winner.
“It’s a real relief to get these kinds of things over with,” Harrington said. “This was a $300,000 (race); he didn’t have to win it, but these are the kind of races you like to win. I said all along it’s a progression and the only thing I hope is that he doesn’t peak in the Santa Anita Derby instead of the (May 5) Kentucky Derby.
“That’s my job to kind of keep that from happening,” added Harrington. “I felt he would run big off the San Vicente. A lot of people thought the San Vicente was a bad race. I was ecstatic with it.”
For Creative Cause, the victory was his fourth in seven starts. The $135,000 sales purchase earned $180,000 to lift his earnings to $729,000. Creative Cause won last year’s Norfolk Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita and finished third behind Hansen and Union Rags in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to close out his 2-year-old season.