After winning each of his first two starts by 3 ½ lengths at sprint distances, the bay son of Jump Start, regarded primarily as a sprint sire, easily carried his speed the route distance while timed in 1:42.41 under a hand ride by Jose Valdivia Jr.
Runner-up Limestone Edge, with jockey Garrett Gomez seeking his fourth win of the afternoon, was simply no match while edging Slam Dunk by one-half length for the place.
“Every indication is that it looks like he wants to go long,” trainer Ron Ellis had said of Rail Trip prior to the Antelope Valley, but some uncertainty lingered. “I’ve got to find out how far he wants to run,” said Ellis, “one turn, a mile, or a mile and a quarter. If he is finishing well at a mile and a sixteenth, he may want to go farther.”
On Friday, at least, the $200,000 yearling purchase owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable appeared to have few limitations.
Bet down to 3-5 favoritism, Rail Trip paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.20. Limestone Edge returned $4.80 and $3.20. The show price on Slam Dunk, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, was $4.
Rail Trip’s third win in as many starts was worth $33,600 and increased his earnings to $78,600.
The three riding victories by Gomez moved him into a tie with Bejarano for the meet’s lead with 32 victories apiece, two ahead of third-place Joel Rosario.
Santa Anita will offer a nine-race card on Saturday featuring the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Handicap for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint champion Ventura figures to be an odds-on favorite. First post is at 12:30 p.m.