Alfred Pais' homebred Brickyard Ride sprinted to the front early in the $202,000 San Carlos Stakes (G2) March 6 and remained far in front as he secured his second straight victory in stakes company at Santa Anita Park.
The seven-furlong San Carlos was the first graded attempt for the 4-year-old Clubhouse Ride colt, who won the Jan. 16 Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint against Cal-breds in his stakes debut.
"There aren't too many this fast. It's a thrill," Pais said. "I knew he was coming up to a big race. I expected if he ran a little bit better he would beat these guys.
"They said there would be speed, but I thought he was the only speed. I figured if he got his way today he would be OK."
The San Carlos was also the first graded victory for jockey Alexis Centeno, who began riding in the states last year after beginning his career in his native Puerto Rico.
"This is of big significance to me," Centeno said. "(Trainer) Craig Lewis gave me the opportunity to work this horse and since I've been on him, he's run well for me and he's comfortable with me."
Centeno has been aboard for Brickyard Ride's last five starts, from which the pair has won four races.
Brickyard Ride was the fastest out of the gate in the San Carlos. The chestnut opened with a :21.63 quarter-mile and was four lengths in front by the time he ran a half in :43.93. Storm the Court, the champion juvenile male of 2019 searching for his first win since that year's TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), chased in second. The leader opened up by five lengths in the stretch, clocking six furlongs in 1:08.49, before crossing the finish line four in front.
The final time on the fast track was 1:21.51. Brickyard Ride paid $12 for a $2 win wager.
"Well, speed kills and he killed today with his speed," said Lewis, who also trained Clubhouse Ride. "He's blessed with a lot of natural speed obviously, he's learning how to relax, he's maturing, he's a big powerful horse. He reached for ground like a horse that could run forever. He's starting to look like he could be the goods."
Tigre Di Slugo came the closest to Brickyard Ride in the stretch finishing second a nose in front of Exaulted. Major Cabbie, Storm the Court, Manhattan Up, Strongconstitution, Extra Hope, and Loud Mouth completed the order of finish.
Brickyard Ride has earned $380,277 from a 7-0-2 record in 13 starts. He was produced from the Southern Image mare Brickyard Helen, dam of three winners from four to race. Brickyard Helen also has an unraced 3-year-old full sister to the San Carlos winner named Sweet Helena, a yearling filly by Conquest Farenheit , and was reported bred back to Clubhouse Ride for 2021.
"Things worked out. If you hang in long enough you get lucky," Pais said. "We knew we had a good horse starting from day one, so it was just a question of how good he was. I remember when (Centeno) first got on the horse, I remember Craig had in a horse the day before and I told (Centeno), 'Can I say something about my horse?' I said, 'Just go to the front and improve your position.' He said, 'That made it easy.' He loves the horse and I love this kid on him."