CARDED AS THE LAST RACE ON OPENING DAY, MATHIS BROTHERS MILE ATTRACTS 11 SOPHOMORES
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2016)–The best may indeed be last on opening day, Monday, at Santa Anita. Carded as the ninth and final race, the Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) has attracted a wide open field of 11 three year olds and could be the best betting race of the day as The Great Race Place opens for its 80th Winter Meet.
BLACKJACKCAT: A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Tale of the Cat, this Al and Sandee Kirkwood homebred is trained by Mark Glatt and retains the services of “Big Money” Mike Smith. Third in the Grade II Twilight Derby here two starts back on Nov. 4, Blackjackcat set the pace and tired to finish sixth in the Grade I Hollywood Derby on Dec. 3 at Del Mar and will be cutting back in distance from four consecutive tries at a mile and one eighth.
BLACKOUT: Trained by Florida-based Mark Casse, this French-bred colt ran evenly when finishing eighth, beaten three lengths, in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles turf Commonwealth on Nov. 12 at Churchill Downs. Based at Palm Meadows in south Florida, he’ll be making his fourth stateside start for owners Gary Barber, Justin Casse and River Card Stable. He has two wins from three career tries at a mile on turf.
CONQUEST ENFORCER: Formerly trained by Casse, he was sold privately following a neck defeat in the Grade II, six furlong turf Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine on Oct. 16 and will make his first start for Loooch Racing Stables Inc., Imaginary Stables or Ritchie, and trainer Phil D’Amato. An Ontario-Canadian-bred colt by Into Mischief, he’s been favored in six out of his seven starts. With a win from two tries at a mile on turf, Conquest Enforcer has plenty of speed and has four wins and two thirds to his credit.
FRANK CONVERSATION: Third, beaten two lengths at odds of 19-1 in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles turf Hollywood Derby on Dec. 3, he was a half length winner of the Grade II Twilight Derby under the same conditions here on Nov. 4 at 36-1. Owned by Reddam Racing, LLC and trained by Doug O’Neill, the Kentucky-bred colt by Quality Road will cut back in distance a furlong and hope to relax as he’s done in his last two starts. Mario Gutierrez once again has the riding assignment.
ISOTHERM: Well beaten in the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar, he’s winless in his last seven starts but has been keeping good company and gets the services for the first time of Kent Desormeaux. Trained by New York-based George Weaver and owned by Matthew Schera, Isotherm will likely be taken off the pace in his first-ever try over the Santa Anita turf.
MOONLIGHT DRIVE: Third, beaten one length three starts back in the Grade III La Jolla Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf, Italian-bred Moonlight Drive was subsequently seventh in the Grade II Del Mar Derby Sept. 4. Following that, he was freshened by Bob Baffert and responded with a game neck victory going 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf on Oct. 22. With a 4-1-2-1 mark at one mile on turf, Moonlight Drive, who is owned by CHRB Chairman Chuck Winner, David Bienstock and Ro and Ward Williford, could be on the early lead or thereabouts under regular pilot Rafael Bejarano.
THE GRADE II MATHIS BROTHERS MILE IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS AND WEIGHTS
Race 9 of 9 Approximate post time 4 p.m. PST
- Mittersill–Joel Rosario–119
- Blackjackcat–Mike Smith–119
- Moonlight Drive–Rafael Bejarano–119
- Conquest Enforcer–Flavien Prat–121
- Fabozzi–Luis Contreras–119
- Isotherm–Kent Desormeaux–119
- Path of David–Joe Talamo–121
- Frank Conversation–Mario Gutierrez–124
- Blackout–Julien Leparoux–119
- Defiantly–Brice Blanc–121
- Tusk–Drayden Van Dyke–119
First post time on opening day, Monday, Dec. 26, is at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. For opening day promotions and reservations, scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.