ARCADIA, Calif. (March 22, 2017)–With a wide open field of 12 horses engaged, California-bred Ashleyluvssugar, Flamboyant, Texas Ryano and Itsinthepost all rate big chances in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes, to be contested at 1 ½ miles over the Santa Anita turf.
To be run for the 66th time, the San Luis Rey, which has traditionally served as a steppingstone to the 1 ¾ miles turf San Juan Capistrano Stakes, is talent-laden from top to bottom, which should result in one of the best gambling stakes thus offered at the current Winter Meet.
ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR: A winner of the 2015 San Luis Rey, this 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Game Plan has won 4 graded stakes, all at marathon distances on turf. In his most recent start, he stalked the pace and went on to a half length win in the California Cup Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 28, earning a San Luis Rey best last-out Beyer Speed Figure of 100. A gem of consistency for trainer Peter Eurton, the Cal Cup Classic was his eighth consecutive start in which he achieved a 100 or better Beyer figure and it was the 10th overall 100 or better Beyer. Owned by his breeders, Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Ashleyluvssugar has earnings of $1,145,004 from an overall mark of 20-9-3-3.
FLAMBOYANT: Scratched out of the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) here on March 11, Flamboyant, a two time graded stakes winner over the course last year, tries the San Luis Rey distance for only the second time in his career. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, he rallied from far back to take a pair of Grade II Stakes in 2016, the San Gabriel and the San Marcos. Although it’s been tough to win from off the pace of late, Flamboyant’s connections will hope for a fast pace if they are to have their best chance on Saturday. Owned by David Bienstock and CHRB Chairman, Charles Winner, the 6-year-old French-bred gelding has earnings of $777,058 from an overall mark of 25-5-3-7.
TEXAS RYANO: A winner of the Grade II, 1 ½ miles Hollywood Turf Cup two starts back on Nov. 25 at Del Mar, this 6-year-old full horse by Curlin disappointed as the 2-1 favorite at a mile and a quarter on turf in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes on Feb. 4, running an even sixth, beaten 3 ½ lengths. Trained by Carla Gaines and owned by his breeder, Warren B. Williamson, Texas Ryano would be well served by a fast pace. With three wins from 10 starts over the Santa Anita turf, he’s 19-5-3-3 overall with earnings of $438,700.
ITSINTHPOST: Second, beaten a half length in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at a mile and a quarter on turf Feb. 4, this 5-year-old French-bred gelding has a pace-pressuring style similar to that of Ashleyluvssugar. Trained by Jeff Mullins in his last eight starts, he’s been no worse than second on only one occasion but he’s still in search of his first graded stakes victory in what will be his 24th lifetime start. With an overall mark of 23-3-6-5, Itsinthepost, who is owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC, has career earnings of $242,712.
THE GRADE II SAN LUIS REY STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 9 of 9 Approximate post 4:30 p.m. PST
- Inordinate–Corey Nakatani–120
- Power Foot–Kent Desormeaux–120
- Flamboyant–Brice Blanc–120
- Ashleyluvssugar–Gary Stevens–124
- Liam the Charmer–Victor Espinoza–120
- Syntax–Rafael Bejarano–120
- Buster Douglas–Santiago Gonzalez–120
- Papacoolpapacool–Edwin Maldonado–120
- Texas Ryano–Joe Talamo–124
- Itsinthepost–Tyler Baze–120
- Some in Tieme–Tiago Pereira-120
- Site Read–Stewart Elliott–120
First post time for a 9-race card on Saturday will be at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.