Air Force Red Aims for More Downhill Glory in Eddie D

Air Force Red Aims for More Downhill Glory in Eddie D

By: Ed McNamara BloodHorse

Returning to a course he enjoys, Air Force Red will try to secure the first graded stakes win of his career in the $200,000 Eddie D Stakes (G2T) Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park.

The Eddie D is contested on the 6 1/2-furlong hillside course where the 4-year-old son of Air Force Blue has posted front-running scores in a pair of allowance-level races this season. Trained by Leonard Powell for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Golightly, Air Force Red enters off a fourth-place finish in the Del mar Mile (G2T) Sept. 3–his stakes debut.

The Eddie D is not among this weekend’s 12 Breeders’ Cup Challenge events but its top finishers figure to be considered for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1T) Nov. 5. Last year’s Eddie D. winner, Lieutenant Dan , is California’s top grass sprinter and he’s already in earned a spot in the Turf Sprint through his victory in the Green Flash Stakes (G3T) Sept. 4 at Del Mar. Lieutenant Dan finished second in last year’s Turf Sprint and is training up to championship weekend at Keeneland and a likely rematch with superstar Golden Pal , who beat him at Del Mar in the 2021 renewal.

Lieutenant Dan’s absence leaves a well-matched group that will see trainer Phil D’Amato send out Gregorian Chant , who finished fourth in last year’s Eddie D, and Coulthard , who finished third in this year’s Green Flash. D’Amato’s Southern California brilliance on grass is comparable to Bob Baffert’s touch on the main track. D’Amato has become king of the California turf after training a record 57 grass winners at this year’s Santa Anita spring-summer meet. His Gregorian Chant, a 6-year-old gelding, leads the field of nine with $393,408 in grass earnings. Coulthard has three turf wins but is 0-for-4 on the hillside course.

Trainer Amador Merei Sanchez will send out Dubai Key  off a fourth-place finish in the Green Flash. Dubai Key figures to challenge Air Force Red early after blasting through fractions of :21 3/5 and :44 2/5 before tiring in the Green Flash. If they burn each other out, it could set it up for Gregorian Chant or Lane Way .


Hall of Famer Richard Mandella trains Lane Way, who’s been worse than third only twice in nine grass starts. He managed to finish second, only 2 1/4 lengths behind Lieutenant Dan, in the Green Flash despite a very rough trip (bumped, crowded, checked). Mandella also runs Goliad , who’s won at six furlongs on grass and can track a quick pace. He’s turning back in distance from a mile, often a plus on the downhill layout.

The Eddie D is named in honor of 71-year-old Eddie Delahoussaye, whose Hall of Fame riding career began as a boy on Louisiana’s Cajun bush tracks. Among his 6,384 victories were five in the Triple Crown series and seven at the Breeders’ Cup.


Santa Anita Park, Saturday, October 01, 2022, Race 7

  • Grade II
  • About 6 1/2f
  • Downhill turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 3:38 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Lane Way (KY) Mike E. Smith 122 Richard E. Mandella 4/1
2 2Air Force Red (KY) Victor Espinoza 122 Leonard Powell 5/1
3 3Goliad (KY) Juan J. Hernandez 122 Richard E. Mandella 8/1
4 4Gregorian Chant (GB) Umberto Rispoli 122 Philip D’Amato 5/2
5 5Coulthard (IRE) Ramon A. Vazquez 122 Philip D’Amato 6/1
6 6Barristan The Bold (GB) Edwin A. Maldonado 122 George Papaprodromou 30/1
7 7Whatmakessammyrun (KY) Joe Bravo 122 Mark Glatt 8/1
8 8Dubai Key (ARG) Hector Isaac Berrios 122 Amador Merei Sanchez 6/1
9 9Tango Tango Tango (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Kyle Frey 122 Jack Sisterson 8/1
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