ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2018)–With six horses coming out of a common race, trainer Jeff Mullins’ Itsinthepost would appear to be a standout among a field of eight older horses in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes, to be run at a mile and one quarter over the Santa Anita turf.
A comfortable 1 ¼ length winner of the Grade II San Gabriel stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf Jan. 6, Itsinthepost will have to again contend with a group of also-rans who all stretch out a furlong in the San Marcos. Heading the list of challengers are Editore and Flamboyant, who both finished in the San Gabriel “money.”
Throw in trainer Richard Baltas’ well accomplished Free Rose and Peter Miller’s recent allowance winner Hayabusa One, and the San Marcos has the look of a very deep and competitive affair.
Owner: Red Baron’s Barn, LLC Trainer: Jeff Mullins
The 2-1 favorite in the San Gabriel, his 1 ¼ length margin of victory was deceptive in that it appeared he had plenty in the tank at the wire under regular rider Tyler Baze. Seemingly better than ever at age six, this French-bred gelding was 9-3-3-0 last year and he banked $573,000. With a 14-5-2-2 resume over the Santa Anita turf, he’s 31-7-7-5 overall with earnings of $855,712 and appears strictly the horse to beat on Saturday.
Owner: Stud RDI, LLC and Bonne Chance Farm, LLC Trainer: Paulo Lobo
Third, beaten two lengths by Itsinthepost in the Jan. 6 San Gabriel, he finished three quarters of length behind Flamboyant, but lacked room at the rail through the lane and very well could’ve been second with clear sailing under Brice Blanc. A 6-year-old Brazilian-bred gelding, Editore was a flashy 2 ¼ length winner of the Grade III Berkeley Handicap going 1 1/16 miles on synthetic Tapeta two starts back on Nov. 25 at Golden Gate Fields. Best suited as a deep closer, he’d be well served by a fast pace.
Owner: David Bienstock and Charles Winner Trainer: Paddy Gallagher
Winless in 13 starts since taking the San Marcos on Feb. 6, 2016, this 7-year-old French-bred gelding rallied from last under Drayden Van Dyke to finish second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, by Itsinthepost in the San Gabriel and will hope to make a similar run on Saturday. Although never a threat to the winner, Flamboyant proved second-best on the day with a perfect trip. With three wins from 12 starts over the local turf, he’ll achieve millionaire status if he finishes first or second. With an overall mark of 32-5-5-10, Flamboyant has earnings of $961,571.
Team Valor International and Gary Barber Trainer: Peter Miller
Yet another French-bred, this 5-year-old full horse had been trained by Graham Motion in his first four stateside starts, including a close fourth place finish in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles turf Hollywood Derby at Del Mar four starts back on Dec. 3, 2106. Idle since Feb. 25, 2017, he showed an impressive turn of foot as the 5-2 favorite in taking a second condition allowance at 1 1/8 miles on turf here Jan. 13–which was his first start for Miller. With a sharp recent win over the course to his credit, Hayabusa One may indeed be ready for his “close-up” on Saturday.
THE GRADE II SAN MARCOS STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Prince of Arabia–Tiago Pereira–120
- Free Rose–Joe Talamo–120
- Roary–Rajiv Maragh–120
- Isotherm–Flavien Prat–122
- Itsinthepost–Tyler Baze–124
- Flamboyant–Drayden Van Dyke–120
- Hayabusa One–Victor Espinoza–120
- Editore–Brice Blanc–122
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com