For any jockey to win a stakes race, there needs to be a certain amount of calmness during the ride.
Sunday in the $100,000 Everett Nevin Stakes in the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meet during the Alameda County Fair, jockey Julien Couton was about as cool as the other side of the pillow in guiding Llobo to the win.
Trained by Lloyd Mason and assistant trainer Faith Taylor, Llobo was in a power-packed field of seven, 2-year- old horses going 5.5 furlongs in the richest stakes race during the 12-day Oak Tree meet.
With speed all inside of him, Couton kept Llobo just off the pace and outside instead of forcing the horse to battle for the lead and more advantageous spot on the inside.
"I didn't worry coming around," said Couton. "I felt like I was in a good spot. He's 100% professional and he's got a good mind for a 2-year- old."
In his only other start, Llobo rolled along through a straight maiden race on June 12 at Golden Gate Fields, starting 5th and working his way through to win by almost two lengths.
Saturday, Couton and Llobo hung around second place heading into the turn and then started to take control as they hit the top of the lane.
"He really extended," said Couton. "He has the ability to put you where you need to be. We just keep going and when I didn't see anyone else, I knew we were good."
The winning margin was two-lengths over Tchula Sunset and another length over Rinse and Repeat. Rinse and Repeat is from the connections of owner Paul Reddam, trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez. If the names sound familiar it's because the trio combined to win the Kentucky Derby with Nyquist this year.
Jeff Bonde's Jet Ski was fourth.
The ownership group of Llobo said the Cavonnier Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa on Aug. 14 is the target for his next start.