Hear the Ghost, ridden by Corey Nakatani, rallied through the stretch to catch Flashback at the wire and win Saturday's $300,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The 1 1/16-mile stakes is the final local prep for the Santa Anita Derby on April 6.
First out of the gate in the nine-horse field was 2-1 second pick Goldencents, but Salutos Amigos quickly took the lead as the field entered the first turn. The top three horses into the backstretch were Salutos Amigos, Goldencents and even-money favorite Flashback.
Up the backstretch, Goldencents and Flashback were on even terms on the lead with Salutos Amigos racing third. Entering the far turn, the top two runners separated themselves from the rest of the field .
Entering the stretch, Flashback had a short lead over Goldencents as the rest of the field began to rally. In mid-stretch, Flashback, ridden by Julien Leparoux, had a clear lead with Goldencents struggling to stay close.
With a furlong to run, Flashback began to tire as Hear the Ghost surged through the stretch and cut into the leader's advantage. Just yards before the wire Hear the Ghost caught Flashback and was able to post a half-length win over the favorite.
Getting up for third was Tiz a Minister followed by Goldencents, Salutos Amigos, Carving, Omega Star and Kochees.
Hear the Ghost covered the San Felipe in 1:42.34 on a fast track.
Part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, the San Felipe was worth 50 points to Hear the Ghost.
Co-owned by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Hear the Ghost notched his first stakes victory and second overall in three career starts. The San Felipe win was worth $180,000 to bring the 3-year-old gelding's earnings to $222,400. He won his debut race on Dec. 15 at Hollywood Park and was second in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 21.
Hear the Ghost returned $13.80, $4.60 and $3.60. Flashback paid $2.60 and $2.40, and Tiz a Minister paid $4.00 to show.