Phil D’Amato already has the Santa Anita Winter/Spring Meet training title wrapped up. Now, he has the single-season meet record for victories to go along with it. D’Amato won his record 57th race of the 74-day Winter/Spring Meet Friday, sending Carpe Vinum to a 2 ¼-length victory in the day’s featured race.
The one-mile allowance score sent D’Amato past Doug O’Neill’s 2006-07 mark of 56. Earlier, he tied O’Neill’s mark when Ma France captured Friday’s first race. O’Neill was on the other end of the country, prepping Hot Rod Charlie for his run in Saturday’s Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park.
“It’s a great feeling. I wasn’t expecting it or counting the wins, but it’s just a testament to all my people. A total team effort,” D’Amato told Santa Anita’s Mike Willman.
Ridden by Ramon Vazquez, Carpe Vinum — Latin for “seize the wine” — camped in fifth behind a fast early pace. She was five lengths off the pace set by long shot Super Game. Vazquez took the 5-year-old outside entering the far turn. A quarter mile out, Vazquez went three wide and opened up. She passed Freedom Flyer with a sixteenth of a mile to go, stopping the clock in 1:34.55.
D’Amato seized the day with Carpe Vinum
“She had a nice set-up today,” D’Amato said. “Ramon got her to the outside where she likes to be. She’s just a very steady going filly. We’ve been slowly inching forward with her and hopefully, we can try a stake with her down at Del Mar.”
The 7/2 second choice, Carpe Vinum paid $9.60, $4 and $3.20. It was her first victory in 12 starts, dating to an allowance optional claiming score in July 2020 at Del Mar. Quattroelle rallied from last to nip Freedom Flyer at the wire for second. Javanica, the 2/1 favorite, never fired, finishing fifth out of seven.
A daughter of the late Giant’s Causeway, Carpe Vinum is 3-1-4 in 16 starts. That’s good for $180,018 in career earnings.
D’Amato, meanwhile, came into Friday with a commanding 16-race lead (55-39) over second-place O’Neill. Last year’s meet training titlist, D’Amato also leads in earnings, with $4,848,704, and stakes wins, with 15.