Airdrie bred Stay Hot Wins the Baffle Stakes in his 2024 Debut

ARCADIA, Calif. – The distance may have been shorter than his best trip, and the result a little close, but Stay Hot performed to expectations in his 2024 debut in Saturday’s $101,000 Baffle Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita.

Closing from last of seven in the final quarter-mile, Stay Hot caught stretch leader Heart Headed in the final sixteenth to win by a head for his third win in four starts on turf, and second consecutive stakes win.

Ridden by Antonio Fresu, Stay Hot ($6.60) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:13.04. He earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 78.

“I think he’s best going a mile,” Fresu said. “The key is to let him break and let him settle, especially down the hill.

“When we got into a nice rhythm, he traveled really well.”

Fresu had Stay Hot well off the rail when the field crossed from the hillside course to the main turf course. Stay Hot had advanced to fourth, trailing by a little more than a length, with a furlong remaining, and steadily closed to lead near the wire.

“He has a nice turn of foot,” Fresu said. “I don’t think he was 100 percent fit.”

Heart Headed stalked the pace and held second as the 5-2 second choice. The Baffle Stakes was Heart Headed’s first race on turf and stakes debut in his fourth start.

“I think he likes the turf,” jockey Juan Hernandez said.

“He barely got beat. I had a good trip. I was behind the speed. He crossed the dirt like a pro. I found space between horses and he picked it up. I think I got the lead for a little bit.”

Charge for Gold (10-1) was part of an early pace of 21.91 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, and stayed in contention to finish third, beaten slightly more than two lengths.

Final Boss, Hedwig, Boltage and Always On Cay completed the order of finish.

Stay Hot, who races for the partnership of Burns Racing, Exline-Border Racing, SAF Racing, the estate of Brereton Jones and William Hudock, is trained by Peter Eurton.

Stay Hot was Eurton’s fourth winner of the racing week at Santa Anita. He won three races on Friday.

Fresu won four races on Friday. Stay Hot was his first win on Saturday.

Stay Hot, a ridgling by Summer Front, has won 3 of 6 starts and earned $176,940.

After finishing third and sixth in his first two starts in sprints on dirt at Del Mar last summer, Stay Hot has won 3 of 4 starts on turf, including a 10th-place finish of 11 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 in his stakes debut and a win in the Grade 3 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at a mile on turf at Del Mar on Dec. 3.