Epical

WIDE OPEN GRADE II, $200,000 SAN MARCOS STAKES ATTRACTS 13 RUNNERS; CASSIDY’S IMPROVING EPICAL LOOMS LARGE AS DOES BAFFERT’S DABSTER, WHO TRIES TURF FOR THE FIRST TIME AT 1 ¼ MILES

WIDE OPEN GRADE II, $200,000 SAN MARCOS STAKES ATTRACTS 13 RUNNERS; CASSIDY’S IMPROVING EPICAL LOOMS LARGE AS DOES BAFFERT’S DABSTER, WHO TRIES TURF FOR THE FIRST TIME AT 1 ¼ MILES

SPECIAL EARLY FIRST POST TIME FOR 11-RACE CARD IS AT 11:30 A.M. 

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 6, 2019)–In what appears to be the best betting race on Santa Anita’s 11-race card Saturday, the Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes has attracted 13 older horses who will compete at a mile and one quarter on turf.  Originally scheduled to be run this past Saturday, the San Marcos was shifted to this Saturday due to last weekend’s heavy rains.

An impressive allowance winner in his last two starts, trainer Jim Cassidy’s Epical might be the horse to beat in a wide open affair.  While Epical appears to be the “now” horse, Bob Baffert’s classy Dabster looms the biggest question mark in the race, as he’ll be trying turf for the first time his 13th career start.

Throw in hard knocking graded stakes winners Chicago Style and Beach View, along with fresh and dangerous reformed claimer Unapologetic, and betting value should abound in this year’s renewal of the prestigious San Marcos.

EPICAL

Owner:  D P Racing, Inc.
Trainer:  Jim Cassidy

An emphatic 2 ¼ length turf allowance winner going 1 1/8 miles here on Dec. 28, this 4-year-old Uncle Mo gelding went gate to wire through realistic splits of 47.40, 1:11 flat and 1:34.40 en route to a final clocking of 1:46.20.  A 6 ¾ length turf allowance winner going 1 3/8 miles in similar fashion at Del Mar Nov. 15, Epical should be extremely tough as he steps into graded completion and stretches out furlong off of his most recent win.  With back to back Beyer Speed figures of 96 to his credit, he’ll be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Tyler Baze on Saturday.

DABSTER

Owner:  Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum
Trainer:  Bob Baffert

Blessed with outstanding natural speed on dirt, this 5-year-old son of Curlin, out of the A.P. Indy mare On a Roll, has been facing top horses on dirt in his last two starts.  Most recently third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by John Sadler’s Gift Box in the Grade II San Antonio on Dec. 26, he was second, beaten a neck, by 2017 Breeder’s Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway two starts back in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar on Nov. 25.  As second guessing anything Baffert does these days carries the aura of a “fool’s errand,” Dabster, on class alone, could go favored in the San Marcos with regular rider Joe Talamo up.

CHICAGO STYLE

Owner:  Glen Hill Farm
Trainer:  Tom Proctor

Consistent and hard knocking, this 6-year-old Glen Hill homebred gelding by Kitten’s Joy is a great fit in the San Marcos and he should get a lively pace to run at.  A neck winner of the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup two starts back Nov. 23, he shortened up three eighths of a mile when a close fourth here in the 1 1/8 miles turf San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 5.  With Drayden Van Dyke back in the irons, Chicago Style will be looking for his seventh win from 13 career starts.

BEACH VIEW

Owner:  Levy Racing
Trainer:  Leonard Powell

Although he’s proven he can be attentive to the pace, this 6-year-old Maryland-bred horse by Giant’s Causeway has run from off the pace in his last two starts, most recently finishing an even fourth on dirt in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes on Dec. 26.  Third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Chicago Style in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar two starts back, Beach View will hope to get the right trip on Saturday.

UNAPOLOGETIC

Owner:  Tom Acker, Allen Racing, LLC, Michael Bloom & Jon Lindo
Trainer:  Bill Spawr

Ridden for the first time upstart Geovanni Franco, this 6-year-old Temple City gelding ran what appeared to be the best race of his 27-race career in rallying to win a 1 3/8 miles turf allowance at Del Mar on Nov. 22.  Claimed for $40,000 by Spawr 16 starts back on Nov. 20, 2016, Unapologetic is 14-3-1-2 over the Santa Anita turf and will likely employ similar come from behind tactics in the San Marcos.  Although well beaten in his only two graded stakes appearances, the Grade III Cougar II Handicap on July 25 and the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap three starts back on Aug. 18, he’s had plenty of time since his last start and if the San Marcos pace is hot, he could be a serious danger in the late stages.

THE GRADE II SAN MARCOS STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 9 of 11                                         Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT

  1. Unapologetic–Geovanni Franco–120
  2. Roman Rosso–Evin Roman–120
  3. Chicago Style–Drayden Van Dyke–124
  4. Epical–Tyler Baze–120
  5. Platinum Warrior–Shane Foley–122
  6. Sejo–Flavien Prat–120
  7. Dabster–Joe Talamo–120
  8. Beach View–Rafael Bejarano–122
  9. Lucky Soul–Heriberto Figueroa–120
  10. Flamboyant–Brice Blanc–120
  11. India Mantuana–Joel Rosario–117
  12. Ya Gotta Wanna–Aaron Gryder–120
  13. Prince of Arabia–Kent Desormeaux–120

Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 11:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.