'Sugarbear' Scores in Autumn Handicap

Improving Tres Sies gelding picks up first career stakes win.

October 13, 2012

Cesar E. Muniz’s Sugarbear Sax Man enjoyed the best start of his six-race career and the result was a solid half-length victory over Michael Isom’s Secret Hero and seven rivals in the $35,000 Autumn Handicap for 2-year-olds on Friday at Los Alamitos.

Racing with a flipping halter for the third time in his career, the Jose Flores-trained Sugarbear Sax Man put it all together and broke on top to sail to a winning time of :17.593 at 350 yards. Leading rider Cruz Mendez piloted the son of Tres Seis to his second victory in six starts.

“This horse was so unlucky not to get in to the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2),” Flores said. “He has the talent to compete in big races, but we’ve been unlucky. The Autumn is not the Breeders’, but it’s a great race for Sugarbear to win. It feels great to win, it makes the owners excited about their horse and it pays the bills. It’s a great win.”

Sugarbear Sax Man began his racing career with a maiden victory on April 14. He came back to finish second to Blackberry Czech in a trial to the Kindergarten Futurity (G2) and then finished eighth to Blackberry Czech in the Kindergarten final. Issues in the starting gate led to his connections addition the flipping halter with the hope that it would aid the gelding’s behavior in the gate. He responded by finishing second in his next two outings before coming through with a victory in the Autumn.

“He’s adjusted to the flipping halter and it’s helping him,” Flores said. “This horse has been good to his owner and his family. They really love the sport, but they own a couple of supermarkets so they’re usually very busy and are not always able to come to the track. For them to be here and see their horse win, that’s a good deal for them.”

Sugarbear Sax Man earned $19,250 for the win to take his career earnings to $34,908.

“This horse has been so consistent,” owner Cesar E. Muniz added. “He left the gate tonight better than ever. This is an emotional win for us – it’s our second stakes win ever and the first for this horse – all we can be is just thrilled.”

A graduate of the 2011 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, Sugarbear Sax Man is expected to enjoy some time off before embarking on a busy derby campaign in 2013. His connections are looking forward to racing him in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) and El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) during the early part of next season.

Trained by Justin Clark, the Valiant Hero filly Secret Hero earned $7,875 for running second. An Idaho invader, she came into this race after winning a trial to the Breeders’ Futurity. Buy Buy, winner of the California Breeders’ Freshman Stakes (R), ran third. Chaotic Cartel, Creole Williams, Corona Cade, Secretly Famous, This Habits A Secret and Jess Another Czech completed the field.