ARCADIA, Calif. (March 21, 2018)–French-bred Itsinthepost, who seeks his third consecutive graded stakes win, heads a field of 10 older horses in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes, to be contested at 1 ½ miles over the Santa Anita turf. Trained by Jeff Mullins, Itsinthepost rallied for a nose victory in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at a mile and a quarter on turf Feb. 3, and will thus be stretching out a quarter of a mile on Saturday.
Others who loom prominent in the marathon San Luis Rey are the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Colonist, who exits a sharp second condition allowance at a mile on turf and Irish-bred Responsibleforlove, a 5-year-old mare who will be tackling males for the first time for trainer Neil Drysdale.
Owner: Red Baron’s Barn, LLC Trainer: Jeff Mullins
A gem of consistency, this 6-year-old gelding has won three out of his last four starts, his only defeat being a respectable seventh-place run three races back in the Grade I, 1 ½ miles Breeders’ Cup Turf on Nov. 4. A winner of five out his last 11 starts, all graded stakes, he will be making his 28th stateside appearance on Saturday in what will be his 33rd career start. Trained by Darrell Vienna in his first 10 Southern California starts and transferred to Mullins upon Vienna’s retirement in the spring of 2016, he’ll be ridden for the 24th time (the last 17 in a row) by Tyler Baze, who refers to Itsinthepost as a “push button” horse. A true “stayer,” Itsinthepost has two wins from three tries at the San Luis Rey distance. Blessed with the potent combination of tactical speed and a world-class turn of foot, Itsinthepost, who won one race from five starts as a 2-year-old in France, comes off his best season in 2017 (earnings of $573,000) and appears poised for another great year as he has already banked $240,000 in 2018. With an overall mark of 32-8-7-5, he has earnings of $975,712.
Stonestreet Stables, LLC Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Although a promising sort on dirt, this 4-year-old Pioneerof the Nile colt was switched to turf five starts back, responding with a narrow defeat while third, beaten three quarters of a length in the Grade III La Jolla Handicap Aug. 6, which was followed by a solid fourth in the Grade II Del Mar Derby on Sept. 3. Most recently a game head winner of a second condition allowance at one mile on turf Feb. 15, Colonist will be trying a mile and one half for the first time in what will be his 11th career start.
Owner: Team Valor International and Mrs. G.A. Rupert Trainer: Neil Drysdale
A 5-year-old Irish-bred mare, she’s one for seven since making her U.S. debut on March 12 of last year and will be facing males for the first time in what will be her 14th career start. Second, beaten 2 ¼ lengths while employing front-running tactics in her only try at 1 ½ miles on turf (the Grade III Santa Barbara Stakes on April 30, 2017), she nearly pulled off an 11-1 upset in the Grade I, 1 ¼ miles turf three starts back here on Sept. 30 and was subsequently a close second in the 1 3/8 miles turf Red Carpet Handicap (Grade III) two starts back on Nov. 23 at Del Mar. Freshened since fifth in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf Dec. 30, Responsibleforlove looms dangerous for the ordinarily conservative Drysdale, who’s currently enjoying a high percentage meeting.
THE GRADE II, $200,000 SAN LUIS REY STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 10 Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT
- Rye–Joe Talamo–120
- Itsinthepost–Tyler Baze–124
- Play Hard to Get–Rajiv Maragh–120
- Saltini–Stewart Elliott–120
- Oscar Dominguez–Geovanni Franco–120
- Aquaphobia–Corey Nakatani–120
- Responsibleforlove–Drayden Van Dyke–115
- Colonist–Flavien Prat–120
- Hayabusa One–Victor Espinoza–120
- Frank Conversation–Mario Gutierrez–120
First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.