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Awesome Return wins Snow Chief at Santa Anita

AP - Sports
Awesome Return wins Snow Chief at Santa Anita
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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) -- Awesome Return won the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds by three-quarters of a length, one of five stakes on California Gold Rush Day at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Awesome Return ran 1 1/8 miles on the turf in 1:48.88 and paid $10.20, $5.40 and $3.40.

Patriots Rule returned $6.80 and $4.20, while Alert Bay was another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $3.60 to show. Tamarando, the 3-2 favorite, finished fourth.

''We just had a perfect trip and I found an opening at the quarter pole and he did the rest,'' Talamo said. ''What makes him so good is he has that big turn of foot and in turf races, you definitely need that to get to certain spots.''

The victory, worth $137,500, increased Awesome Return's career earnings to $201,108, with two wins in six starts. It was his first stakes win under trainer Mike Puype.

''Perfect ride, perfect trip,'' Puype said. ''I was almost worried when he hit the front because he can play around, he's done that each time he's run. He's a talented colt with a bright future but he still had to put it all together today.''

In the $250,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, 2-1 favorite Rovenna held off long-shot Wonderful Lie to win by a neck.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Rovenna ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.86 and paid $6, $3.80 and $2.80 for her third straight victory.

Wonderful Lie returned $14.40 and $5.20, while Swiss Lake Yodeler was another 5 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $2.60 to show.

The victory, worth $140,000, increased Rovenna's career earnings to $397,760, with four wins in nine starts.

In the $125,000 Spring Fever Stakes for fillies and mares, Top Kisser returned from a nine-month layoff to race on dirt for the first time and won by 3 3/4 lengths under Corey Nakatani. She ran six furlongs in 1:08.89.

Marks Mine was second and Warren's Veneda was third.

Top Kisser has five wins in nine career starts and earnings of $265,550.

In the $125,000 Tiznow Stakes for older horses bred or sired in California, Storm Fighter scored a 3 1/4-length victory.

Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Storm Fighter ran one mile in 1:35.06 and paid $7.60, $3.40 and $2.60.

Rousing Sermon returned $2.60 and $2.10 as the 4-5 favorite, while China Prince was another half-length back in third and paid $2.60 to show.

The victory, worth $75,000, increased Storm Fighter's career earnings to $159,718, with three wins in seven starts.

Dancingtothestars withstood a jockey's objection to win the $100,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares by 3 1/2 lengths.

Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Dancingtothestars ran one mile on the turf in 1:35.09 and paid $13.80 to win at 5-1 odds.

Defending champion Unusual Hottie was second, Halo Dolly third and Unusual Way fourth. The field was reduced to four after three horses were scratched.

Tyler Baze, aboard Unusual Hottie, claimed interference against the winner at the three-eighths pole, but the stewards upheld the order of finish.

''I don't think I needed to do anything differently,'' Gutierrez said. ''I didn't bother anybody.''

Trained by Doug O'Neill, Dancingtothestars has seven wins in 23 career starts and earnings of $473,122.

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