It was business as usual for the leading rider in the history of Fairplex Park, as Martin Pedroza rode six winners on Opening Day, including the featured $50,000 Beverly J. Lewis aboard Subsidized.
After starting her career with three starts on synthetic surfaces that produced two wins and a second place, the three-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, trained by Bob Baffert, made her debut on dirt a winning one, covering the six-and-a-half furlongs around the Bull Ring in 1:17.3 and romping home by nearly six lengths as the odds-on favorite at 4-to-5.
But it was David Flores, aboard Cat Brando, who was crowned King of the Ring after defeating Pedroza and Dave’s Ruler in a match race earlier in the day.
"It was fun. I had the best horse," said Flores. "It (Fairplex Park) was my first step to jumping to the big circle. I've gotten to be a big part of this place, and I really love this place."
The $40,000 maiden claimers went a mile and a sixteenth with Flores getting the early lead and never looking back, scoring by a length on the three-year-old son of Bertrando trained by Doug O’Neill.
"I had too much confidence," said Pedroza, who got off to a great start in his quest to break his record of 51 winners at the meet. "I let him get away. I should have had him. If I would have put more pressure early, I think I would have beat him."
Cat Brando paid $3.60 as the 4-to-5 second choice. Dave's Ruler went off favored at 1-to-2.
"It was a great display by two great riders," said O'Neill, who claimed the winner out of a $25,000 maiden claimer in his last race at Del Mar. "They were two evenly matched horses, so it was fun."
On Opening Day, I hit one of my two Best Bets, as well as hitting the late Pick 4 and scoring with two other top choice winners.
Along with my analysis, you'll also get Bruno DeJulio's workout reports. Make sure to follow Bruno on Racingwithbruno.com as he tackles the Kentucky circuit over the next two months leading up to the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs in early November.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @mdoche!
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!