Peter Miller started 2020 how he ended 2019: by successful stakes on the turf at Santa Anita Park. The coach, who wrapped up final 12 months with victories from Mo Forza within the Dec. 28 Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (G2T) and Laura’s Mild within the Dec. 29 Blue Norther Stakes, picked up his first stakes victory of the brand new 12 months when Texas Wedge stalked and pounced to defeat late-running Double Contact within the $202,500 Joe Hernandez Stakes (G2T) Jan. 1 at Santa Anita.

Although the race ended auspiciously, the early operating proved tough. After breaking alertly, Texas Wedge was shuffled again to fifth in visitors down the backstretch as longshot Bay Muzik bounded away from the pack with a gap quarter in: 22.09 within the 5 1/2-furlong turf dash. Steadied down the backstretch underneath Flavien Prat, Texas Wedge tugged at restraint.

As soon as the sphere hit the flip and Bay Muzik turned up the warmth with a half-mile in in 44.60, congestion within the race minimized and Texas Wedge moved into fourth alongside the within and third within the stretch. Then it was time to chop unfastened. Shifting three large down the lane, he took command with a few sixteenth of a mile remaining and lasted for a three-quarter-length victory.

“Texas Wedge received jostled round. He broke tremendous sharp, and we did not need him that shut,” Miller stated. “However Flavien did a fantastic job, as all the time, and received him to settle and made that run.”

Texas Wedge raced 5 half of furlongs on a agency turf course in 1:02.47, paying $6.20 as the favourite within the area of 10.

“This can be a good method to begin off the New Yr,” stated Prat. “It is good to win a race like this for Peter. We broke sharp and he was somewhat robust with me on the bottom, however as soon as I received him coated up, he dropped the bit and relaxed fantastically. He is a really constant horse and at this distance, he is actually robust.”

The Joe Hernandez was the primary stakes win from 13 begins for Texas Wedge, a 5-year-old Colonel John gelding who was third within the June 1 Mighty Beau In a single day Stakes at Churchill Downs in his first begin as a 4-year-old. Later within the 12 months, he received an allowance in a grass dash at Churchill. At 2 and three, he raced completely in California.

“Nicely, when turf racing stopped in Kentucky (for the winter), it was both flip him out or carry him residence, and we needed to carry him residence,” Miller stated.

Miller received the Joe Hernandez for the second time. He received it in 2017 with Stormy Liberal, the eventual winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Dash (G1T) in 2017 and 2018. Stormy Liberal, retired after a winless 2019, was champion male turf horse of 2018.

Double Contact rallied from ninth to edge Bay Muzik by a head for the place. Blitzkrieg, one in every of three graded winners within the race together with True Valour and Legends of Battle, completed fourth.

One other Miller trainee, Captain Scotty, chased the tempo earlier than fading to fifth, overwhelmed simply 1 3/Four lengths.

Grinning Tiger, Tribalist, True Valour, Legends of Battle, and Carnivorous rounded out the end.

Owned by Altamira Racing Secure, Rafter JR Ranch, STD Racing Secure, and A. Miller, Texas Wedge improved his document to 5-3-2. The $120,000 winner’s prize elevated his earnings to $313,530.

Texas Wedge was acquired by his coach for $30,000 on the 2017 Ocala Breeders’ Gross sales March Sale from the Richardson Bloodstock consignment. The 12 months earlier than, he was a $27,000 purchase on the Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Mike Neatherlin when consigned by Elm Tree Farm. He’s the one winner from three foals to race from the Political Drive mare Callmenancy.

Video: Joe Hernandez S. (G3T)

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