Racing News

Alphie a winning bet in Sham

  • Alphie's Bet ran away with the Sham -- photo by Benoit Photo

Thriving on a trip that found him three- and four-wide much of the way, Peter Johnson Sr. and Teresa McWilliams' ALPHIE'S BET (Tribal Rule) had plenty in reserve through the stretch to wear down the speed and draw away as much the best in Saturday's $150,000 Sham S. (G3) at Santa Anita, a Kentucky Derby (G1) prep that had been postponed one week due to a water-logged track. Under Alex Solis, who guided The Pamplemousse to victory in the same race a year ago, Alphie's Bet drove home an 8-1 winner by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:48 3/5 over the Pro-Ride. The 8-1 sixth choice in the wagering paid $19, $8.40 and $4.80.

Breaking from post 10, Alphie's Bet tracked in sixth early as El Mirage King (Out of Place) and Nextdoorneighbor (Lido Palace [Chi]) traded the lead through splits of :23 3/5 and :47 3/5. The latter had opened up by more than a length through a half-mile and still held close to that margin after three-quarters in 1:12 1/5, but was soon challenged by The Program (Harlan's Holiday), who claimed the lead at the top of the stretch. That stalker held a short lead, but could not withstand the bid of the winner.

"Today, he was very light on his feet," Solis said. "He was a much sharper horse, but he's so big, he's so heavy, when he comes out of the gate, it takes him a while to get into stride. The way he ran today didn't surprise me at all. To be honest, I try not to think too far ahead. I just pray to God he stays healthy."

"I'm not sure what we're going to do with this horse yet (for his next race)," said trainer Alexis Barba, who also trained Make Music for Me (Bernstein) to victory in the Pasadena S. the race before the Sham.

Setsuko (Pleasantly Perfect), the 5-2 favorite, made a mild rally to finish a clear second by 1 1/4 lengths, returning $4.40 and $3.20. The Program held third by a head over Outlaw Man (Forest Wildcat), and gave back $4 at 5-1. The $1 exotics were worth $40.90 (exacta), $256.40 (trifecta) and $1,664 (10-7-2-3 superfecta). Boulder Creek (Tapit), Marcello (Johannesburg), Nextdoorneighbor, Kettle River (Congaree), El Mirage King and Wolf Tail (Strive) rounded out the order of finish.

Fourth in his first two starts against California-bred maidens at Hollywood Park, Alphie's Bet rallied from last for runner-up honors in the December 26 California Breeders' Champion S. behind Caracortado (Cat Dreams), who subsequently captured the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) and will head into next Saturday's San Felipe S. (G2) undefeated in five starts. Alphie's Bet finally got into the win column last time, defeating state-bred maidens by 1 1/4 lengths over a mile on turf. With this initial stakes triumph, Alphie's Bet has earned $141,320 from a line of 5-2-1-0.

Bred by McWilliams, Alphie's Bet is the first foal out of Miss Alphie (Candi's Gold), who also placed since in the California Breeders' Champion S. (filly division) during her racing career. A half-sister to the Australian Group 1 winner Absolut Glam (Aus) (Snowland), from the family of Australian Group 3 winner Moonflute (Danehill), Miss Alphie has also produced an unnamed juvenile filly by Benchmark and a yearling colt named Unusual Heatwave (Unusual Heat).

Los Alamitos Futurity Added to 2014-15 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' Series

The $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade I) has been added to the list of races that comprise the 2014-15 “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The series of 35 select races – 19 “Prep Season” races and 16 “Championship Series” races – will determine which horses qualify to the 141st running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby.

Global View Nips Storming Inti at Wire to Win 23rd Running of Grade II American Turf

Glen Hill Farm's Global View caught Storming Inti in the closing strides

Midnight Lucky Romps in 28th Running of Grade I Humana Distaff

Midnight Lucky, making her first start in more than 11 months, took the lead out of the gate

Coffee Clique Catches Dame Marie Late to Win 29th Running of Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

Coffee Clique squeezed through an opening along the hedge

California Chrome Wins America’s Greatest Race

164,906 fans pack historic Churchill Downs

Updates Powered by

Visit for expert handicapping, picks and analysis Derby Week and all year long

Derby Stories

Lindsay & Els Chicago, IL

First time at the Oaks so that's why we have these crazy hats on, shaped like cheese hats and painted pink in honor of Bright Pink, which is a great charity.
Paula's picking California Chrome

Kentucky Derby 140 presented by Yum! - The Race

Kentucky Derby 140 - Road to the Derby

Kentucky Derby 140 Intro

Around the Downs - The Stables

The Race

54 Photos


California Chrome is attempting to become only the fourth California-bred, Kentucky Derby winner in history and the first since Decidedly in 1962.