ARCADIA, Calif. (April 10, 2014)–Trainer John Sadler’s hard hitting Sweet Swap heads a field of 10 older horses in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s unique hillside turf course.
A dominating 1 ¾ length winner of the Joe Hernandez Stakes down the hill on Feb. 23, Sweet Swap has three wins, two seconds and a third over the course and looms strictly the horse to beat with Joe Talamo riding for the second consecutive time.
Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, the 5-year-old horse by Candy Ride is best suited when allowed to stalk the early pace. He’s won three out of his last four starts and is 11-5-2-1 overall with earnings of $227,133.
Second, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by Sweet Swap in the Hernandez, Tom Proctor’s Zimmer was a sharp $50,000 claiming winner coming down the hillside with Mike Smith on Jan. 23 and will be reunited with Smith on Sunday. Bred in-part and owned by Jack Mandato, Zimmer is an 8-year-old horse by Empire Maker who is 24-6-4-3 with earnings of $275,559. Fast early, he’ll ensure a solid pace.
Proctor will also saddle comebacking Pataky Kid, who’s been idle since running an even fifth in the one mile El Cajon Stakes Aug. 30 at Del Mar. Campaigned primarily in the Midwest, the 4-year-old colt by Rockport Harbor is winless from four tries on turf and will make his first Santa Anita start in the San Simeon.
A winner of the Grade III Arlington Washington Futurity at Arlington Park in 2012, he won the seven furlong Coach Jimi Lee Stakes on July 13, 2013 at Arlington as well. Owned by Swifty Farms, Inc., Pataky Kid will likely make a run from off the pace in the San Simeon. He is 12-3-1-2 overall with earnings of $204,235.
Although winless in three starts since taking the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes down the hill on Sept. 27, Jeff Mullins’ Chips All In rates a huge chance as he is the defending champ in the San Simeon and he has two wins and a second from five tries down the hill.
Supplemented at a cost of $120,000 to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint three starts back on Nov. 2, he finished 3 ¾ lengths behind repeat winner Mizdirection while running ninth. Following that, the 5-year-old horse by North Light was a close second in the six furlong turf Hollywood Turf Express Dec. 8 and he ran fourth, beaten 5 ¼ lengths in his most recent start, the Grade III, 6 ½ furlong turf Daytona Stakes on Dec. 28.
Blessed with ample early speed, Chips All In figures to be on the move early from his rail post.
A second condition allowance winner down the hill on March 15, 2013, trainer Scott Hansen’s Chiloquin has been idle since running a close third in the restricted Pirates Bounty Stakes going six furlongs at Del Mar Sept. 4. A 6-year-old gelding by Tribal Rule, he rallied from well off the pace in his hillside allowance win and with what appears to be an abundance of speed signed on Sunday, he could hope for a similar scenario with Iggy Puglisi aboard in the San Simeon.
Third, beaten 2 ¼ lengths by Sweet Swap in the Joe Hernandez Feb. 23, Pure Tactics, who had been stabled at Fair Grounds in New Orleans in January, will make his second start for Doug O’Neill and is another who would benefit from a lively early pace. He’ll be ridden back by leading man Rafael Bejarano.
Previously conditioned by Shug McGaughey, Forward March has been idle since March 9, 2013 at Gulfstream Park and would have to be considered “live” in his first stakes engagement for new trainer John Shirreffs. A 5-year-old horse by Distorted Humor, he has three wins and three thirds from nine starts with earnings of $123,380.
A winner of the restricted Clockers’ Corner Stakes down the hill on Jan. 26, California-bred Lakerville comes off a sixth-place run in the Grade I, one mile turf Frank E. Kilroe Stakes on March 8 and should appreciate the cutback in distance. Blessed with a tremendous closing kick, the Barry Abrams trainee has two wins and a second from three hillside engagements.
Well beaten in the Clockers’ Corner, Doug O’Neill’s Handsome Mike has been winless since taking the Grade III Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland nine starts back on April 13, 2013. He has one win from four tries down the hill.
Trainer Al Stall, Jr. will ship west with longshot Artest, who was well beaten in a 5 ½ furlong turf stakes at Fair Grounds on March 15. The 5-year-old Hard Spun gelding is in search of his second career stakes win and will try to make an impact from off the pace.
The complete field for the Grade III San Simeon Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race program, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Chips All In, Tyler Baze, 120; Pataky Kid, Gary Stevens, 118; Chiloquin, Iggy Puglisi, 118; Forward March, Aaron Gryder, 118; Sweet Swap, Joe Talamo, 118; Zimmer, Mike Smith, 118; Pure Tactics, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Lakerville, Corey Nakatani, 118; Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez, 120, and Artest, Brice Blanc, 118.
First post time on Sunday will be at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.