Sidelined since his dead-heat third in the Del Mar Futurity (G1), the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained INDIAN WINTER (Indian Charlie) produced a rousing late charge to catch the front-running City Cool (City Zip) in Monday's $80,600 San Pedro S. at Santa Anita. The 10-1 longest shot on the board despite his two-year-old form, the dark bay colt crossed the wire a half-length on top with Martin Pedroza, returning $22, $9.80 and $4.60. In the process, he joined the fray of emerging Kentucky Derby (G1) prospects on the West Coast.
Indian Winter was settled just off the pace in midpack while City Cool dictated splits of :21 1/5 and :43 3/5 on the fast track. Arcadian (Songandaprayer), the 3-1 favorite, pressed City Cool early, but began to give way in midstretch. Nor did the ground-saving Sinai (Rockport Harbor) appear to be making much of a dent in the drive.
Although City Cool was spurting two lengths clear, Indian Winter was already lengthening stride noticeably on the outside. Staying on strongly inside the final sixteenth, Indian Winter mowed down City Cool in the nick of time to complete 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15 1/5.
"I just wanted to be close to the pace," Pedroza said. "Most horses here don't seem to be coming from so far out of it, so I just wanted to be within striking distance. The number 3 horse (Sinai) was the speed, and I was comfortable being three, four, or five lengths off the pace. It was a matter of if my horse got tired chasing him, or he slowed down at the end. At the end my horse got a little tired, but he wanted to get the job done."
City Cool was himself 1 1/4 lengths clear of Sinai, who kept on steadily for third. Arcadian retreated to sixth in the seven-horse field.
Co-owned by Hollendorfer in partnership with Peter Abruzzo, John Carver and George Todaro, Indian Winter boosted his earnings to $100,860 from his 3-2-0-1 line. He was a debut maiden winner at Del Mar on August 21, defeating eventual Norfolk S. (G1) hero Jaycito (Victory Gallop). Indian Winter encountered trouble and had to steady in the September 8 Del Mar Futurity, but still managed to force a dead-heat for third.
"Before we ran him, we were really high on him," assistant trainer Dan Ward said. "We thought he was going to be a very good horse, and he proved it first time out. He did everything professionally from the inside. He beat Jaycito, but he (jockey Rafael Bejarano) didn't even get the stick out. He was just galloping.
"We were deciding whether to run back in the Futurity because it was quick, it was only 18 days. We ran him back kind of quick and he had trouble on the backside and it was kind of disappointing. But then we gave him time and it paid off today. I hope he can go a little longer (than 6 1/2 furlongs)."
Bred by Larry Byer in Kentucky, Indian Winter was a $50,000 Keeneland September yearling who went to his current connections for $125,000 as an OBS March two-year-old. He is out of the winning Dixieland Band mare Backroom Blues, and his half-siblings include Grade 3 victress Sindy with an S (Broken Vow), the stakes-placed Five Star Holding (Five Star Day) and an unnamed juvenile filly by Songandaprayer. Further back, this is the family of two-time champion and $3.9 million-earner Ashado (Saint Ballado), Grade 1 winner Sunriver (Saint Ballado) and Grade 2 scorers Foresta (Alydar) and Victory U. S. A. (Victory Gallop).