ARCADIA, Calif. (April 16, 2017)–Well beaten following a starting gate mishap at Oaklawn Park March 4, Kaleem Shah’s Aristocratic made amends on Sunday at Santa Anita with a powerful gate to wire performance in the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes, as he won by 4 ½ lengths under Rafael Bejarano. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the 3-year-old Malibu Moon colt got six furlongs in 1:10.09.
“After that race at Oaklawn, where he acted up at the gate, the jock said that when he got in behind horses, he lost his mind,” said O’Neill. “I want to thank Mr. Slender (Santa Anita Starter, Jay) and his crew because we took him to the gate here quite a bit for schooling and it paid off.”
Dispatched at 4-1 in a field of five sophomores, Aristocratic, who was sent from his number two post position, paid $10.60, $3.40 and $2.80.
The San Pedro marks his first stakes win and Aristocratic, now 5-2-2-0 overall, picked up $46,500 for the win, increasing his earnings to $99,950.
“I knew there was a lot of speed in the race, but this horse likes to be on the lead and in control,” said Bejarano, who also guided him to a 1 ¼ length maiden win here two starts back on Feb. 11. “So there was no choice for me. I tried to get him to relax without taking too much hold of him and get him comfortable. At the top of the stretch, I knew I had plenty left.”
With an abundance of stakes opportunities available, O’Neill indicated Aristocratic would likely be pointed to Santa Anita’s Grade III, seven furlong Lazaro Barrera Stakes on May 13.
Unhurried from his rail post, heavily favored Bobby Abu Dhabi was last at the quarter pole, swung five-wide turning for home and proved second best, finishing four lengths in front of Big League. Ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., Bobby Abu Dhabi was off at even money and paid $2.60 and $2.10.
Breaking from the far outside, Big League was part of a four-horse scrum for the lead that included the winner, Taxman’s Quest and Rebel War. Second, while three wide turning for home, Big League could never quite get on terms with the winner and was unable to hold off his stablemate, Bobby Abu Dhabi late, finishing third, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Rebel War.
Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Big League was off at 4-1 and paid $3.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.67, 44.84 and 57.39.
Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday, with first post time for an eight race card at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit http://www.santaanita.com/horse-racing/live-racing/.