ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2017)–In a battle of recent maiden special weight winners nominated to the Triple Crown, Jerry Hollendorfer’s Battle of Midway will take on Doug O’Neill’s Iliad and Bob Baffert’s Aquamarine in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Vicente at seven furlongs. An important prep to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby April 8, the San Vicente, which was won last year by eventual Santa Anita and Kentucky Derby winner, Nyquist, attracted a field of five sophomores and will be contested for the 76th time on Sunday.
BATTLE OF MIDWAY: Off at 3-1 in his debut going six furlongs on a wet fast surface here Jan. 21, he dueled for the early lead through an opening quarter mile of 21.60 and took charge from there to win easily by 3 ¼ lengths under the recently injured Drayden Van Dyke. Earning a final clocking of 1:09 flat, he was accorded an 88 Beyer Speed figure and if he’s able to improve off his maiden win, he rates a big chance to take the San Vicente with Mike Smith engaged. A Kentucky-bred colt by Smart Strike, he fetched $410,000 at the 2015 Fasig Tipton Select Saratoga Yearling Sale. He’s owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc.
ILLIAD: A dazzling 3 ½ length maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs on Dec. 18 at Los Alamitos, this Kentucky-bred ridgling by Ghostzapper earned a San Vicente-best Beyer Speed figure of 92. Originally conditioned by Baffert he’ll be making his third career start as he debuts for Doug O’Neill. Ridden by Martin Garcia in his first two starts, the Kaleem Shah-owned Illiad will be handled by Rafael Bejarano in the San Vicente.
AQUAMARINE: This Florida-bred colt by Gemologist pressed the pace and went on to a 1 ¾ length maiden win over a muddy track in his debut going 5 ½ furlongs here on Jan. 13. Owned by Zayat Stables, LLC, he gives Baffert a big look in a race he’s won nine times–dating back to eventual Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm in 1997. Aquamarine will be ridden back by Stewart Elliott.
THE GRADE II SAN VICENTE STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 4 of 9 Approximate post time 2 p.m. PT
- Law Abidin Citizen–Jamie Theriot–120
- Aquamarine–Stewart Elliott–120
- Blabimir–Mario Gutierrez–120
- Battle of Midway–Mike Smith–120
- Iliad–Rafael Bejarano–120
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday at Santa Anita is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.