Hard-sent from the gate by Edwin Maldonado, longshot Majestic City led throughout to win Friday’s $70,000 Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita.
Majestic City ran a flat mile in 1:35.20 while prevailing by a neck over 8-5 favorite Rousing Sermon.
The biggest price in the five-horse Big Bear at 15-1, Majestic City had lost his previous 12 starts.
“We’ve been waiting so long to get a race for him at a mile,” said former jockey Jeff Bloom, who heads Bloom Racing Stable, LLC. “We planned to use his tactical speed, and when Summer Hit scratched out of the race, it set things up perfectly for us. We were hoping he could make the lead, go to pricking his ears a bit and then finish. He’s been doing so well.”
With Rousing Sermon tracking him throughout, Majestic City set fractions of 23.00, 46.58, 1:10.52 and 1:22.73. Majestic City paid $32.40, $11.00 and $5.00
“He’s a bit lazy,” said Maldonado. “Ron had two horses in the race and the plan was for me to go to the front and for Rail Trip to come from behind. I knew once my horse made the lead he would be a little more aggressive than usual, and the horse did the job.”
Second in both the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and (Keeneland’s) Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity at age two, Majestic City, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by City Zip, improved his record to 16-4-2-2. With the Big Bear winner’s share of $43,260, he increased his earnings to $302,500.
Rousing Sermon, who came off a big allowance score on Oct. 3, just missed under Julien Leparoux, finishing a half length in front of Drill. He paid $3.60 and $2.40.