Horse Racing

Red-Hot Ridin’ Hernandez Takes Bran From Gate To Wire To Win Daytona


Bran tallies first graded stakes win in Daytona (G3) at Santa Anita

In control of the early pace, John Sadler’s classy French-bred Bran was never seriously challenged as he held off longshot Majestic Eagle late to take Sunday’s $100,000 Daytona Stakes (G3) by one length under a red-hot Juan Hernandez.

Owned by Hronis Racing, Bran got about 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:12.44.

A close second in his most recent start, the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs May 6, Bran, a 4-year-old gelding, had one second-place finish from two prior tries over the course at Santa Anita.

“It didn’t look like there was much speed in the race, but the nice thing about him is, he’s won both ways, he can be up close or he can lay off of them a little bit like he did last time at Churchill Downs,” said Sadler.  “He’s a very honest horse.  He doesn’t have a bad race on his form, he runs good all the time.  We’ll freshen him up now and the distances at Del Mar may not suit him well, so we’ll see.”

A winner of the ungraded Siren Lure Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs out of Santa Anita’s turf chute two starts back, Bran was off as the even-money favorite in a field of five older horses and paid $4.

“He ran one time on the lead down the hill and he put up nice fractions like today, so John told me, ‘Just break sharp and if he wants to go to the lead, let him go,” said Hernandez, who was aboard for the first time today and who registered his fifth stakes win of the weekend, with two remaining on the Sunday program.  “If someone else wants to go, just follow them.’

“I broke on the lead and he was happy there.  I waited until we crossed the dirt and then I asked him to go home and he (did).”

With two wins from six Southern California starts, Bran, in getting his first graded stakes win, is now 19-6-4-3 overall.  With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $346,396. By Muhaarar out of Best Intent, by King’s Best, Bran was bred by Lordship Stud.

Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Majestic Eagle, one of two Neil Drysdale entrants, overtook Burnin Turf by a head for second.

California-bred Burnin Turf couldn’t go with the winner early and was third best, finishing a half length in front of Homer Screen.

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