CANANI-CONDITIONED LOUP BRETON FACES NINE IN 1 1/4 MILES SAN MARCOS ON SUNDAY

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 21, 2010) – Rescheduled for Sunday after stormy conditions washed out last Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday racing card at Santa Anita, the Grade II, $150,000 San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf attracted a field of ten with Irish-bred and mostly French raced Loup Breton heading the cast.

Loup Breton, whose stretch run fell a neck short in the Grade II San Gabriel Handicap as the 7-5 favorite on Dec. 27, appears likely to be every bit as well fancied in Sunday’s 58th running of the San Marcos.

Even though the field includes a Breeders’ Cup champion in Muhannak, who scored a 12-1 upset in 2008’s inaugural Marathon, Loup Breton would appear to rate prime consideration in terms of overall class.

Wildenstein Stable’s 6-year-old bay overcame a poor start in his United States debut for trainer Julio Canani on Nov. 19 at Hollywood Park when charging from far behind to take an allowance event at 1 1/8 miles on turf under jockey Garrett Gomez.

In the San Gabriel at 1 1/8 miles over Santa Anita’s Camino Real Turf Course, Loup Breton was running fastest of all at the wire when just failing to overhaul victorious Proudinsky with Gomez back in the irons.

Gomez, who recently won his fourth consecutive North American purse earnings title, will be back aboard in an effort to provide Canani with his first San Marcos victory since he saddled Putting in 1990.

While based in France, Loup Breton faced many of Europe’s stellar campaigners including such standouts as Goldikova, Duke of Marmalade and Never On Sunday. His victories included the Group III Prix Daphnis at Longchamp in 2007 and the Group II Prix d’Harcourt at Longchamp in 2008. Last year, he was a close second to Vision d’Etat in the Group I Prix Ganay at Longchamp.

Loup Breton comes into Sunday’s San Marcos with earnings of $587,614 from an overall record of $587,614.

Irish-bred Muhannak, a 6-year-old Chester House gelding, failed to duplicate his 2008 showing in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon when finishing a distant fifth in last November’s renewal at Santa Anita.

After being based in England, he was subsequently turned over to the care of Santa Anita-based trainer Ben Cecil, who will return the marathoner to a grass surface on Sunday. Martin Pedroza will ride Muhannak, who is winless in eight starts since his Breeders’ Cup success. A winner of 2 of 10 on grass, Muhannak’s overall record is 7-1-2 in 23 starts for earnings of $437,371.

The complete field for the San Marcos, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Aggie Engineer, Alex Solis, 115; Pearl Fisher, Jose Valdivia Jr., 115; Deal Breaker, Rafael Bejarano, 115; Zappa, Mike Smith, 115; Muhannak, Martin Pedroza, 115; Loup Breton, Garrett Gomez, 115; Dynamic Range, Victor Espinoza, 117; High Court Drama, Michael Baze, 115; Riviera Cocktail, Joel Rosario, 115, and Porfido, Joseph Talamo, 115.

Rose Catherine, second to Tapitsfly in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and Miss Heather Lee, runner-up to the highly talented Blind Luck in Hollywood Park’s Grade I Starlet Stakes, are among eleven 3-year-old fillies set to contest a companion feature, The Sweet Life Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.

Rose Catherine, who will have Gomez aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher, set all the pace in the one-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 6 before yielding by one-half length in the final sixteenth after jockey Javier Castellano lost his whip. The daughter of Speightstown has earned $287,737 for P. P. Pompa Jr. from a record of 1-1-0 in 5 starts.

Arnold Zetcher’s Miss Heather Lee will be making her turf debut in the Sweet Life. In the Starlet, raced at 1 1/16 miles over Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track on Dec. 21, the Trippi filly held on for second while early leader Rose Catherine faded to sixth. Trained by Bob Baffert, Miss Heather Lee has posted a 2-2-0 record from 5 starts for earnings of $154,210. Victor Espinoza rides.

The complete field for the Sweet Life Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: City to City, Bejarano, 117; Sweet Sophia, Smith, 117; Stockings, Rosario, 117; Miss Heather Lee, Espinoza, 117; Tanda, Alex Solis, 117; Punctual, Tyler Baze, 115; Paleo, Alonso Quinonez, 117; Haggai, Martin Garcia, 115; Rose Catherine, Gomez, 117; Golden Humor, Talamo, 119, and Maralago, Pedroza, 117.

The San Marcos is scheduled as the eighth race on a nine-race program Sunday, with The Sweet Life going as the fourth. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

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