Lost Bus was claimed for $32,000 at Del Mar on Nov. 19, the day she finished fourth in a one-mile turf race. It was more difficult to assess her value by dusk on Saturday.
Lost Bus ($131.20) won the first stakes of her career in the $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita, a Grade 2 race at seven furlongs for fillies and mares.
Ridden by Fernando Perez, Lost Bus ran seven furlongs in 1:21.78 and paid $131.20, $42.20 and $14.80 at 60-1 odds, making the 4-year-old filly the longest shot in the field.
Finest City returned $10.60 and $6.80. Tara’s Tango was another neck back in third and paid $4.60 to show.
Understandably, the win exceeded expectations of trainer Gary Sherlock, who trains the 4-year-old California-bred Lost Bus for Terry Lovingier.
“I was running for third and it turned out better than that,” Sherlock said.
The longest shot in the field, Lost Bus won by a head over 8-1 Finest City and had to survive an objection by jockey Corey Nakatani to retain the win. Nakatani, who rode Finest City, contended Lost Bus drifted out in the stretch and cost his mount a win. The stewards disagreed, stating the contact occurred after the wire.
“If I don’t get bumped, I win it,” said a frustrated Nakatani.
Perez had Lost Bus in third-place after a quarter-mile in 22.42 seconds, racing a half-length behind early pacesetter Finest City. Lost Bus led by a half-length over Finest City after a half-mile and held an advantage by that margin with a furlong to go. Finest City reduced the difference in the final strides, but could not catch Lost Bus.