It was a memorable Memorial Day for the Pete Eurton-trained Exaulted, who put in a stout rally to turf his rivals in the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1), Monday at Santa Anita.

Marking the first of 41 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races in North America this year, the Shoemaker Mile gave Exaulted an automatic starting position (with fees paid) in the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on Nov. 4.

With Juan Hernandez in the irons, Exaulted, the 3-1 second choice, had plenty left in the tank while sitting third, just off pacesetter Lamplighter Jack three furlongs from home, before gearing up in the turn for home and then breezing past Flavius to strike front while keeping Irideo at bay.

The final time was 1:34.08. The fractions were :22.88, :46.10, 1:10.09, and 1:22.14.

“This horse has been improving every race,” said Hernandez, the meet’s leading rider with eight stakes scores and 24 total triumphs.

“He is always in a good position. He broke really sharp today and I took him back. At the three eighths, I asked him to pick it up and it was time to go. I passed a horse to get the lead and he didn’t let other horses pass him. Peter has done a really good job with this horse. This horse really loves the turf, so maybe the turf has been the difference.”

A winner of the Grade 3 American at one mile on the grass on April 2 at Santa Anita, Exaulted, a 6-year-old son of Twirling Candy, paid $8.20 for the win. He is now 4-for-4 on the season.

Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable LLC, Exaulted, who notched his first Grade 1 win, is now 15-5-3-4. With the winner’s share of $300,000, his earnings now stand at $603,660.

Eurton was exultant over Exaulted’s triumph.

“I’m just so happy, so pleased to do it for Lee Searing,” said Eurton. “This is the kind of race you want to win ever since you’re a kid. I knew Bill (Shoemaker), we played golf with my father-in-law. Those two things together make it a great day.”

Irideo, next to last of 11 at the half-mile call, rallied to be second by a length over favored Hong Kong Harry.

Golden Gate Fields-based Il Bellator, the longest shot in the field at 68-1, finished another length back in fourth.

Exaulted was bred in Kentucky by Jack Swain. His dam is the Gilded Time mare Gilded Miracle.

Feature image: ©Santa Anita Park