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GRADED WINNERS MY BEST BROTHER & UTOPIAN HEAD COMPETITIVE 10-HORSE FIELD IN SUNDAY’S $70,000 LURE STAKES AT ONE MILE ON TURF
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 24, 2013)—My Best Brother, a winner of the Grade II Del Mar Derby in 2012, and Utopian, a winner of last year’s Grade III Inglewood Handicap, head a field of 10 horses aged three and up entered to run in the $70,000 Lure Stakes at one mile on turf this Sunday at Santa Anita. .
A front-running winner of the one mile turf Oceanside Stakes on July 18, 2012, My Best Brother was then second, beaten a nose in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles La Jolla Handicap prior to his Del Mar Derby win. Trained by Julio Canani and owned by his breeders, William Currin and Alvin Eisman, My Best Brother was eased in his most recent start, the restricted Wickerr Stakes on July 24, which followed an eight-month layoff.
A 4-year-old colt by Stormy Atlantic, My Best Brother has had five consecutive turf drills at Santa Anita and will be ridden for the first time by leading man Rafael Bejarano. With two wins from three starts at a mile on grass, his overall mark stands at 11-4-1-0, and he has earnings of $346,340.
A winner of the 1 1/8 miles turf Inglewood at Betfair Hollywood Park on April 27, 2012, Utopian has been idle since running third behind eventual Eclipse Awad Turf Horse of the Year Acclamation in the Grade I Charles Whittingham Handicap on June 9, 2012.
Trained by John Shirreffs and owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Utopian, a 6-year-old horse by Rock Hard Ten, has two seconds from five starts on the Santa Anita lawn and is 0-3 at one mile. His overall mark stands at 12-3-2-1, and he has earnings of $213,180.
A respectable fourth behind top turf miler Obviously in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap Aug. 25, El Commodore was subsequently well beaten in the $100,000 Ralph M. Hinds Handicap at Barretts Fairplex Sept. 22. It is expected he’ll be allowed to run freely in the Lure with new pilot Gary Stevens engaged for trainer Mike Machowsky.
A multiple graded stakes-placed earner of $246,236, El Commodore has recency in his corner and is well versed at a mile on grass, with four wins, four seconds and two thirds from 17 tries. Owned by the Kagele Brothers, Inc. and John Gallegos, he is 6-5-4 from 32 overall starts.
Versatile Huntsville will make his third start of the meet in the Lure and will shorten up from a good second place allowance effort going a mile and one eighth on turf Oct. 14. A 4-year-old California-bred gelding by Unusual Heat, Huntsville would benefit from a fast early pace with Corey Nakatani engaged to ride him back.
Trained by Barry Abrams, Huntsville was bred by David Abrams and Madeline Auerbach and is owned by Barry Abrams and Auerbach. With three wins and a second at one mile on turf, he is 33-3-7-3 overall, with earnings of $276,965.
The complete field for Sunday’s $70,000 Lure Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race program, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Bio Pro, Mario Gutierrez, 123; Sirocco Strike, Irving Orozco, 120; Huntsville, Corey Nakatani, 118; Polytechnicien, Alex Solis, 118; Willyconker, Martin Garcia, 118; El Commodore, Gary Stevens, 123; Venomous, Julien Couton, 118; Utopian, Victor Espinoza, 118; My Best Brother, Rafael Bejarano, 118, and Hawk’s Eyes, Edwin Maldonado, 118.