McANALLY WINS CLOSING DAY FIXTURE FOR FOURTH TIME, DATING BACK TO JOHN HENRY IN 1980
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 10, 2016)–With his octogenarian trainer beaming with pride, 8-year-old Chilean-bred Quick Casablanca made a bold move around the final turn and steamed to 2 ¾ length victory under Tyler Baze, providing Hall of Fame conditioner Ron McAnally with his fourth lifetime win in Santa Anita’s traditional closing day feature, the Grade III, $100,000 San Juan Capistrano Stakes.
Originally scheduled to be run at one and three quarter miles with a hillside start, significant rain over the past two days necessitated that the race be run on the turf oval with a stretch start. Quick Casablanca thus negotiated a first-ever mile and seventh eighths on a yielding turf in 3:19.58, much to the delight of an on-track crowed of 10,079, which roared its approval as the field crossed the line of finish no less than three times.
“This is a good horse,” said McAnally, 83, who won his first San Juan Capistrano with the legendary Hall of Fame gelding, John Henry, in 1980. “We just let him gallop the first time around, and the second time, he made that move. He had plenty left.
“He’s an old horse, he’s a pro. He’s been around a long time. He’s been to Chile, he’s been to New York, he’s been to Florida. He’s one professional horse, and he’s old, like me.”
Allowed to lope along in last among a field of seven older horses that included a pair of mares, Quick Casablanca settled into a steady stride under Baze and was content to trail until called upon, three furlongs from home.
“In the paddock, the only thing Mr. McAnally told me was to just gallop him the first time around,” said Baze, who tasted victory in the San Juan for the first time. “That was no problem, he’s a real cool horse, push-button, like a pony. I galloped that first mile and picked it up from there and tried to figure out how I was going to push the button because with him, it’s all or nothing. He was really flying that last three eighths of a mile.”
The 9-5 favorite, Quick Casablanca paid $5.80, $3.20 and $2.40. Owned by Pablo Gomez, he improved his overall mark to 28-5-8-6. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $749,160.
Generosidade, a 7-year-old Uruguayan-bred mare who bested Quick Casablanca by 1 ½ lengths in the Grade II, 1 ½ miles turf San Luis Rey Stakes March 13, completed the exacta, finishing 3 ¾ lengths in front of Life’s Journey. Ridden by Tiago Pereira and off at 3-1, Generosidade paid $4.40 and $3.80.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Life’s Journey was off at 14-1 and paid $5.00 to show.
Fractions on the race, improbable as they seem, were 25.73, 53.54, 1:20.45, 1:47.71, 2:43.26 and 3:07.45.
Santa Anita’s 41-day Spring Meet will open on Thursday, May 5, with first post time at 2 p.m.