Rafael Bejarano, deputizing for injured rider Garrett Gomez, drove the 5-year-old bay through an opening that developed between horses entering the stretch to capture the race he had lost by three-quarters of a length to Daytona the previous year when last ridden by Bejarano.
The result gave Hall of Fame trainer Frankel his fifth overall victory in the San Gabriel while also providing his 900th career win at Santa Anita after having passed Charlie Whittingham’s previous mark of 799 in March of 2007.
As the 13-10 favorite, Proudinsky paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.80. The mutuels on Ferneley were $7.80 and 4.80 while Medici Code, also third in last year’s San Gabriel, paid $3.80 to show.
Bejarano regained his former mount on the winner after Gomez sustained hand and leg injuries in a spill on Saturday. The nation’s leading rider in money-won, Gomez is hopeful of returning to the saddle on Monday when Santa Anita will have a Pick Six carryover of $156,069.
“He (Proudinsky) ran real strong today,” Bejarano said in the winner’s circle. “We were behind all the speed, and were going really slow, so he was dragging me along. We needed room at the top of the stretch and the four horse (Silent Soul) was trying to keep me in, but we got through. He gave me a big kick in the stretch. We needed it because the five (runner-up Ferneley) ran a big race.”
Observed Frankel, “He had a really good trip and got through when he needed to. He did his job. He’s a nice, honest horse, not a top class horse, but a nice Group II horse. We’ll see what’s next, play it by ear.”
The victory was worth $90,000 to Johanna Louise Glen-Teven, a Manhattan Beach, Calif., resident who owns Proudinsky. The purse brought his career earnings to $790,377 from an overall record of 5-4-1 in 17 starts.
In an earlier stakes race for 2-year-old fillies, jockey Victor Espinoza guided Navigator to a wire-to-wire victory in the 12th running of the $78,600 Blue Norther Stakes at one mile on turf as odds-on favorite Internallyflawless never threatened while finishing last in the field of nine.
The second choice at odds of 7-2, Navigator held on to defeat April Pride by one length with Acting Lady another one-half length back in third. The winning time was 1:36.38 after Espinoza got away with moderate fractions that included a half-mile in :47.50 and six furlongs in 1:12.08.
It was the second win in three starts for the daughter of Stormy Atlantic after finishing second in her debut for trainer Ron Ellis. The winning purse of $46,200 lifted Navigator’s earnings to $77,200 for Jay Em Ess Stable.
The winner paid $9, $5.20 and $3.80. April Pride, ridden by David Flores, paid $7.60 and $4.80. The show price on Acting Lady, handled by Rafael Bejarano, was $4.80.
Santa Anita will offer a special nine-race card of racing on Monday headed by the $70,000 Impressive Luck Handicap at 6½ furlongs over the track’s downhill turf course. First post is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.