Owner Susan Osborne (Tarabilla Farms) had a big hug for jockey Joseph Talamo after Melatonin won the Grade I $1,000,000 Santa Anita Handicap Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Santa Anita. Photo by Benoit.
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 12, 2016) — In his first-ever try in graded stakes competition on the main track, longshot Melatonin made it look easy in taking Saturday’s 79th running of the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in gate to wire fashion under Joe Talamo. Owned by Tarabilla Farms and trained by David Hofmans, the 5-year-old gelding by Kodiak Kowboy won the Big ’Cap by 4 ¼ lengths while covering the mile and a quarter distance in 2:02.01.
Fresh off a 3 ¾ length allowance win going a mile and a sixteenth on Feb. 5, Talamo and his agent, Scott McClellan, lobbied forcefully for a chance to try the deep waters of “The Granddaddy of Them All” on Saturday.
Off at 16-1, Melatonin paid $34.60, $13.80 and $6.00. The Big ’Cap represented his fourth win from 11 career starts and with the winner’s share of $600,000, he increased his earnings to $768,552.
Ridden by Abel Lezcano, Hard Aces rallied stoutly late to tag favored Effinex by a half length for the place. Off at 22-1, Hard Aces paid $19.20 and $7.20.
Fractions on the race were 22.82, 46.28, 1:10.81 and 1:36.47.