Blingo posted the biggest win of his career to date in the $300,500 San Antonio S. (G2) Feb. 8 at Santa Anita. The son of Artie Schiller, already a two-time stakes winner before Saturday, could be headed to the $750,000 Santa Anita H. (G1) on March 8 (VIDEO).
Artie Schiller enters 2014 off a stellar 2013 that saw him finish the year as the nation's leading sire of 2-year-old stakes winners and the only sire in North America with two Grade 1 juveniles winners.
With Game On Dude and Blueskiesandrainbows dueling it out early in the 1 1/8-mile contest, Aaron Gryder had Blingo about nine lengths back after a half-mile in :46.26. The race composition quickly changed on the far turn, with Blingo going four wide as five horses were within a length of the lead.
Blingo and Imperative emerged from the fray to stage their own duel in the stretch. Gryder kept Blingo to the task, prevailing by a half-length in 1:47.95 on a fast track.
“I’m very happy with this race and how (Blingo) positioned himself. I’ve ridden Imperative before and he ran one hell of a race today but my horse just kept digging,” said Gryder.
“I was hoping for a hot pace today and I was real happy with first eighth of a mile,” continued Gryder. “By the time we had gone three-sixteenths I could tell we had established a fast pace and I just wanted my horse to settle. When we got to the five-eighths pole I knew he was running his race, he was traveling so well. I was just hoping they (the leaders) would come back to us a little bit, but he went after them.”
Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, Blingo has been campaigned judiciously throughout his career, with three of his four career wins coming in stakes, but the San Antonio is his first graded win. After Saturday's $180,000 payday, Blingo has earned $364,408.
The Mosses bought Blingo as a yearling out of the 2010 Keeneland September Sale, going to $80,000 to secure the bay bred in Kentucky by Ben Walden Jr. and B. Ray.
Moss said afterward that if all goes well, Blingo could run in the Santa Anita H.