Conquest Tsunami Leads Win, Place, Show Finish for Trainer Peter Miller
A winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint two starts back on Nov. 4 as a 30-1 long shot, Stormy Liberal (9-5) took betting action as the co-favorite with Calculator in Saturday’s $150,000 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita. But neither one could run down the wire-to-wire winner Conquest Tsunami, who gave Peter Miller a 1-2-3 finish with Victory Espinoza riding Conquest Tsunami to a 2 ½ length victory.
“The way he ran today, and this is obviously the first time I’ve been on him, but he’s pretty amazing. It takes nothing away from the other two horses who ran second and third, who are good horses, but he was much the best today,” said Espinoza.
Off at 5-1 in a field of seven older horses, Conquest Tsunami carved out fractions of :21.99, :44.09 and 1:06.14 while chased by 9-5 favorite Calculator. Stormy Liberal joined the fray for the stretch run and managed to get the best of Calculator by 1 1/4 lengths on the wire but could not catch his other stablemate, who completed about 6 1/2 furlongs on the firm downhill turf in 1:12.03.
The victory was the second-straight for Conquest Tsunami since he transferred to Peter Miller’s barn. He returned $12.40, $5.80 and $3.20 in capturing the Daytona, his first graded stakes victory in 22 starts. The 6-year old win an allowance race over the same Santa Anita turf course Jan. 20.
“Unbelievable, they all showed up, they got three great rides, and we’ve got three great owners,” said Miller, who worked for the legendary Charlie Whittingham in the mid-1980s.
Miller and owner Gary Barber may send Conquest Tsunami to Dubai next, with a run in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint the end of March on Dubai World Cup night.
“The way he runs, maybe we’ll try Dubai, if we get invited,” said Barber. “I I thought he wanted firmer turf, and he loves the downhill here, he really does. This course is perfect for him.”