Forest Chatter wins California Flag Handicap at Santa Anita

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Forest Chatter won the $100,000 California Flag Handicap by a head Monday to remain undefeated on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Forest Chatter ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:11.94 and paid $4.60, $3.60 and $2.80 as the 6-5 favorite in a field of seven. It was Forest Chatter's first stakes win and he improved to 5-0 on turf at the track.

''We had to fight for all we were worth to pull it off,'' Smith said. ''When you get one that really likes that hill, they're hard to beat on it. He's so agile that he can turn just as well to the right as he does turning to the left, he's so easy.''

The victory, worth $60,000, increased Forest Chatter's career earnings to $230,510, with five wins in 10 starts.

Somethings Unusual returned $5.80 and $3.20, while K Thirty Eight was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $4.20 to show.

''At the eighth pole I was scared to death,'' winning trainer Richard Mandella said. ''That horse (Somethings Unusual) looked like he had dead aim on him, but Mike nursed him along and did a good job.''

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