Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California hosted the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) on Saturday, one of the country's premier races for older horses. The 26,147 fans on hand enjoyed sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70's for the three Grade 1 races. Ultimate Eagle was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in this historic 1 1/4 mile feature, off his 7 length romp in the Strub Stakes (G2) last time out. In to challenge him included 3-1 second choice Setsuko off an allowance win at Santa Anita on February 4, and 7-2 third choice Ron the Greek, second in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream after winning the Queens County at Aqueduct.
Ultimate Eagle and Gladding dueled for the lead for the first 3/4 mile through quick fractions of 22.26, 44.55 and 1:09.08, with Victory Pete stalking them in third. On the far turn, Ultimate Eagle opened up a 1 1/2 length lead through a mile in 1:34.14. With 3/16 remaining, Ultimate Eagle tired, as Ron the Greek, 9th early, to move up to take the lead while chased by Setsuko. In the final furlong, Ron the Greek drew clear to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 2:00.41 over the fast track. It was just 1/2 a length back from Setsuko to late-running Uh Oh Bango third, while favorite Ultimate Eagle checked in 10th.
Results Chart from Daily Racing Form