ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2014)–Hall of Fame conditioner Ron McAnally, who has been training for more than 50 years in Southern California, will call upon a good measure of that experience when sending out Argentine-bred Suggestive Boy in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Arcadia Stakes for older horses at one mile on turf.
A winner of last year’s Arcadia and idle since winning the Grade I, one mile turf Frank E. Kilroe Stakes March 2, Suggestive Boy will have his hands full on Saturday, as he faces a tough group of nine rivals, all of whom would appear to possess sharp recent form.
A versatile sort, 6-year-old Suggestive Boy has tactical speed and is usually in a striking position mid-way around the far turn. Owned by Pozo de Luna, Inc., he drilled seven furlongs over Santa Anita’s turf on Jan. 23 in 1:27.60, and will be ridden by regular pilot Joe Talamo.
Idle since running a close fifth in the Grade I, 1 ½ miles Breeders’ Cup Turf Nov. 2, Irish-bred Vagabond Shoes signaled his readiness by working a bullet five furlongs at Santa Anita in 59.60 for trainer John Sadler.
Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, Vagabond Shoes won the Grade II Del Mar Handicap going 1 3/8 miles on turf three starts back on Aug. 24 and was then second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Grade II, mile and a quarter John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita Sept. 29.
A 7-year-old gelding by Beat Hollow, Vagabond Shoes has four wins, two seconds and a third from 15 tries at a mile on turf. It’s expected he’ll again be taken off the pace by regular rider Victor Espinoza.
Speedy Winning Prize, who finished third, beaten three quarters of a length when attempting gate to wire tactics in his most recent start, the Grade II, mile and a sixteenth turf Citation Handicap Nov. 29, was a Group I winner in his native Argentina and has a stellar 4-3-1-0 mark at a mile on grass.
He’ll be reunited with Rafael Bejarano, who rode him to a mile turf win in his U.S. debut at Del Mar Aug. 22. Owned by David Heerensperger and Jose Nelson, Winning Prize, a 5-year-old horse by the Storm Cat stallion Pure Prize, is conditioned by Neil Drysdale.
Red-hot trainer Tom Proctor, whose nine wins include three added money victories at the current stand, will saddle the up and coming Procurement. He’ll be ridden by apprentice Drayden Van Dyke, who seeks his first-ever Santa Anita stakes win.
Second, beaten a head from far back in the opening day Grade II, one mile turf Sir Beaufort Stakes, Procurement has been ridden in his last two starts by Talamo–who opted to stay with Suggestive Boy Saturday.
A galloping winner of the mile and one eighth turf La Puente Stakes on April 21, 2013, Procurement, a 4-year-old Glen Hill Farm homebred colt by Florida-based Milwaukee Brew, has a pair of wins over the Santa Anita turf and is 4-2-2-0 at one mile on grass.
With an abundance of speed signed on in the Arcadia, it’s expected Proctor will instruct his young apprentice to take well-back early and make a run turning for home. Procurement has earnings of $241,809 from an overall mark of 16-4-2-1.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will send out a sharp pair of veterans in the Arcadia, Vinery Stables Regally Ready and Mike McCarty’s Unbridled’s Note.
Regally Ready comes off a facile gate to wire allowance win going a mile on grass Jan. 2, and retains the services of leading stakes jockey Mike Smith. A multiple graded stakes winner sprinting on turf, the 7-year-old More Than Ready gelding has four wins and two thirds from six tries on the Santa Anita lawn and has two wins from three starts at a mile on turf.
Smith, who leads all reinsmen with six stakes wins at the current stand, also guided the venerable Regally Ready to a nose win 18 starts back in the Grade III, 6 ½ furlong turf San Simeon Handicap on April 16, 2011.
Regally Ready has earnings of more than $1.3 million from an overall mark of 29-11-2-5.
A course specialist of sorts coming down Santa Anita’s 6 ½ furlong hillside layout, Unbridled’s Note comes off an impressive half length win in the Grade III Daytona Stakes Dec. 28, and will try two turns for only the third time in what will be his 17th career start Saturday.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani in his last 10 tries, Unbridled’s Note will be handled for the first time by Kent Desormeaux in the Arcadia, as Nakatani has opted to stay with the Simon Callaghan-trained No Jet Lag. A 5-year-old horse, Unbridled’s Note is 16-5-3-4 overall, with earnings of $636,683.
A fast-finishing third, beaten a head, in the Sir Beaufort Dec. 26, French-bred Si Sage will hope to make his presence felt late under Martin Garcia, who takes over for David Flores, who is now riding full-time in Singapore.
Trained by Darrell Vienna, Si Sage will make his fifth stateside start in the Arcadia and will hope to improve upon his 7-2-1-1 scorecard going a mile on turf. A 4-year-old colt, he is owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC, Rancho Temescal and Vayaconsuerte, LLC.
A winner of the Grade II City of Hope Mile (turf) Stakes at Santa Anita Oct. 5, Callaghan’s No Jet Lag pressed the pace and disappointed as the 7-5 favorite in the Sir Beaufort with Joel Rosario up. Based at Santa Anita, No Jet Lag has had two works since the Sir Beaufort, his most recent a five furlong drill in 1:00.40 on Jan. 19–eighth fastest of 54 at the distance.
Owned by Anthony Ramsden, No Jet Lag has two wins from four starts at a mile on turf and is 11-4-1-0 overall. Ridden to victory in his U.S. debut by Nakatani Aug. 11, the Arcadia will be the first time “C Nak” has been aboard since.
A winner of the Uniformity Stakes down the hillside turf two starts back, Tom’s Tribute made the lead turning for home in the Sir Beaufort and tired to finish sixth, beaten 1 ¼ lengths. A mile turf allowance winner three starts back at Santa Anita Sept. 29, the 4-year-old colt by Lion Heart has a win and a second from three one mile turf starts.
Trained by Jim Cassidy and owned by Tom and Marilyn Braly, highly regarded Tom’s Tribute has been favored in five of his seven career starts, and has won three of them. He’ll be ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens on Saturday.
Trained by John Shirreffs, Peace and Justice comes off a highly rated gate to wire allowance win going a mile over the course on Jan. 5, and broke his maiden in similar fashion going a mile over a yielding course at Belmont Park June 12. Owned by Justice Family Racing, Peace and Justice is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by War Front who will be making his fifth start in the Arcadia.
The complete field for the Arcadia Stakes, to be run as the eighth on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Procurement, Drayden VanDyke, 118; Vagabond Shoes, Victor Espinoza, 123; Unbridled’s Note, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Si Sage, Martin Garcia, 118; Regally Ready, Mike Smith, 118; Peace and Justice, Brice Blanc, 118; Tom’s Tribute, Gary Stevens, 118; Suggestive Boy, Joe Talamo, 120; Winning Prize, Rafael Bejarano, 118, and No Jet Lag, Corey Nakatani, 123.
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.