72ND RUNNING OF ICONIC TURF FIXTURE ATTRACTS WIDE OPEN FIELD OF 10 OLDER HORSES
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2018)–Trainer Jeff Mullins’ Itsinthepost heads a wide open field of 10 older horses in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel stakes for older horses at a mile and one eighth over the Santa Anita turf.
In addition to Itsinthepost, several others will vie for top billing in the 72nd renewal of the iconic San Gabriel, including Jerry Hollendorfer’s He Will, Paddy Gallagher’s Flamboyant, Vladimir Cerin’s Top of the Game and several others.
Owner: Red Baron’s Barn, LLC Trainer: Jeff Mullins
A newly turned 6-year-old gelding, this French-bred comes off his finest year, with three wins and as many seconds from nine turf starts–good for 2017 earnings of $573,000. Most recently seventh, beaten 5 ¼ lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf at a mile and one half Nov. 4, Itsinthepost rallied resolutely to get up and win the Grade II John Henry Turf Challenge at 1 ¼ miles here two starts back on Oct. 1. A three-time graded stakes winner, he’s three for five at the San Gabriel distance and with Tyler Baze back aboard, he rates top billing on Saturday.
Owner: All Schlaich Stables, LLC, Hollendorfer, LLC, Team Green, et al Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
A 6-year-old California-bred full horse by Cyclotron, he’s one of several who would benefit from a fast pace. Most recently second, beaten a nose in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 26, He Will was flattered by the fact that the third place finisher, Pee Wee Reese, came back to score impressively in the ungraded Joe Hernandez Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf this past Monday. With “Big Money” Mike Smith back aboard for the third consecutive time, He Will will hope to time things right as he stretches out a sixteenth of a mile off his most recent start.
Owner: David Bienstock and Chuck Winner Trainer: Paddy Gallagher
Although winless in seven starts in 2017, this 7-year-old French-bred gelding managed one second and four third place finishes last year–all in graded stakes competition. Most recently third, beaten two lengths in the Grade II, mile and one half Hollywood Turf Cup Nov. 24, Flamboyant will be ridden for the first time by Drayden Van Dyke as he returns to a course on which he’s posted three wins from 11 starts. Best suited as a deep closer, Flamboyant would be well served by fast early fractions.
TOP OF THE GAME
Owner: Holly and David Wilson Trainer: Vladimir Cerin
Although he’s winless in three starts on turf and has run on dirt in his last four starts, Top of the Game was scratched out of the Grade II San Antonio Stakes on opening day to run in the San Gabriel and must be highly respected off of his huge one mile main track win two starts back on Oct. 28. Although he was a well beaten fourth at 2-1 in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 25, this 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Desert Party looms dangerous with Kent Desormeaux back aboard for the eighth consecutive time.
THE GRADE II SAN GABRIEL STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Flamboyant–Drayden Van Dyke–120
- Editore–Brice Blanc–122
- Top of the Game–Kent Desormeaux–120
- Win the Space–Rafael Bejarano–120
- Tequila Joe–Joe Talamo–120
- Isotherm–Flavien Prat–122
- He Will–Mike Smith–120
- Itsinthepost–Tyler Baze–124
- Free Rose–Rajiv Maragh–120
- Smokey Image–Evin Roman–120
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.