UNITED, ACCLIMATE & CLEOPATRA’S STRIKE ALL RATE BIG CHANCES IN WIDE OPEN GRADE II, $200,000 JOHN HENRY TURF CHAMPIONSHIP THIS SATURDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 25, 2019)–Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s highly regarded United and a pair of Phil D’Amato trainees, Acclimate and Cleopatra’s Strike, rate big chances in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita, which has attracted a wide open field of eight 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one quarter.
Owner: LNJ Foxwoods
Trainer: Richard Mandella
Idle since rallying from off the pace for a 1 ¼ length win in a mile and one eighth turf allowance at Del Mar on July 17, this 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding was a troubled second two starts back in the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes at a mile and one quarter on turf here on May 25. With Flavien Prat riding back, United could be poised to post his first stakes win in the John Henry.
Owner: The Ellwood Johnston Trust & Timmy Time Racing
Trainer: Phil D’Amato
A front-running 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Acclamation, he registered his first graded win when waltzed to one length gate to wire score in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap going 1 3/8 miles on turf Aug. 17. Ridden by eastern-based Florent Geroux at Del Mar, he’ll be handled for the first time on Saturday by Victor Espinoza. With a hillside start, he’ll shorten up in distance an eighth of a mile.
Owner: Slam Dunk Racing & Michael Nentwig
Trainer: Phil D’Amato
A sharp second, beaten a nose in his So Cal debut, the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes here on Jan. 5, this 6-year-old Ontario Canadian-bred gelding by Smart Strike went to the sidelines and resurfaced in a second condition allowance at Del Mar Sept. 2. A fast finishing second, beaten a head going 1 1/8 miles on turf, he’ll be making his third start for D’Amato on Saturday and should get plenty of pari-mutuel attention.
THE JOHN HENRY TURF CHAMPIONSHIP WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 10 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Ya Gotta Wanna–Geovanni Franco–121
- Oscar Dominguez–Joe Talamo–121
- Cleopatra’s Strike–Abel Cedillo–121
- Ritzy A.P.–Martin Garcia–121
- United–Flavien Prat–121
- Grecian Fire–Mike Smith–121
- The Street Fighter–Edwin Maldonado–121
- Acclimate–Victor Espinoza–125
First post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.