Las Vegas, NV - Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California will play host to the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes this Saturday, May 24. A purse of $200,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/4 miles on Santa Anita's turf track.
The Charles Whittingham has attracted a field of nine older entries to go in race 7 on Santa Anita's Saturday card. Post time is 4:00 PM. Let's take a glance into the credentials of all nine combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
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2014 Charles Whittingham Stakes Race Favorite Entries
Quick Casablanca - Christophe Clement trained Argentinean trained entry had 11 starts in Argentina with three wins, six seconds and two third place finishes. He won two of his last three starts in Argentina before shipping to North America including a Grade 1 race at Hipodromo Argentino De Palmero last March. He has six starts in North America with mixed results. He made his 2014 debut April 25 on this track and broke through with a terrific win over Fire With Fire in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes after a fifth in the minor Slew O' Gold Stakes at Aqueduct November 17 and an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes in September. He also had a third behind Hyper in the minor John's Call Stakes at Saratoga July 31 after an eighth in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap June 7 and a third in the minor Good Reward Stakes also in May. Quick Casablanca has placed in three of six North American starts and hopes to build on a terrific win last time out. Joe Talamo rides from post 2.
Fire With Fire - Neil Drysdale trained gelding had a nice two race win streak to start 2014 - in gate-to-wire fashion in the 1 1/2 mile Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes March 22 and in the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap at Turf Paradise January 18. He followed those results with a good second last time out to Quick Casablanca in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes on this track April 25. He also won the Bull Dog Handicap at Fresno in October, had a third in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate November 29 and a fifth in the Grade 2 San Gabriel on this track January 4. He has been terrific the last couple of months with two wins and a second place finish. Fire With Fire has 31 career starts with six wins, eight seconds and five third place finishes but enters this week in the best form of his life. Tyler Baze will be in the saddle of the 124 pound top weight from post 6.
Charles Whittingham Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders
Segway - Richard Mandella's lightly raced gelding is coming off an Allowance Optional Claiming score in gate-to-wire fashion on this track May 10 after an OK third in the Grade 2 Tokyo City Cup on this track March 29, an ugly tenth in the Grade 2 San Marcos here February 8, an OK third in his stakes debut - the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup behind Lucayan December 14 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score by 1 1/2 lengths October 27. He has placed in four of his last five starts including two wins and will have Gary Stevens aboard from gate 8.
Joelito - Jerry Hollendorfer trained colt is coming off a disappointing sixth after pressing the pace and tiring in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes here April 25 after a win and two seconds in his previous three starts. He was a second in the minor one-mile Thunder Road Stakes here April 6 with a career best 97 Beyer Speed Figure after an Allowance Optional Claiming score on this track March 6 and another second in an Allowance Optional Claiming in February. His other graded stakes start resulted in a seventh in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs last May. Joelito has three wins and three seconds in 11 career starts and hopes for a breakthrough in graded stakes. Corey Nakatani gets the call in Joelito's first try beyond 1 1/8 miles from post 9.
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Bright Thought - has four wins in 11 career starts - none bigger than in his graded stakes debut - a win in the Grade 2 San Luis Stakes here way back in March, 2013. Before that was two wins in February. He has placed in just one of his last four starts however which was third in the minor Thunder Road Stakes here April 6. Sandwiched around that result was a ninth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 3, a seventh in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap in November and a tenth in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Jockey Victor Espinoza hope to get Bright Thought back on track when he leaves from post 3.
African Oil - French bred Simon Callahan trained gelding makes his North American stakes debut Saturday after a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out here May 1 and a fifth and a seventh respectively in a pair of similar races this past spring. He had two wins, three seconds and a third place finish in 11 starts at home before shipping. Kent Desormeaux gets the call from post 4.
Irish Surf - had a two race win streak in the summer including a MSW in July but has failed to place in his last six starts overall. He had a fourth and a fifth respectively in a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming races here this year after an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup, a ninth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, a seventh in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby in November and a ninth in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship in September. Irish Surf has just two wins, a second and four third place finishes in 16 career starts and looks overmatched in this one. Elvis Trujillo has the mount from post 5.
Dr Action - Argentinean bred Peter Miller trained gelding makes just his second start on North American soil - his first was a seventh in the minor Thunder Road Stakes here April 6. At home he was very good - four wins and a third place finish in six starts. The wins include the Clasico Gustavo Prado Heudebert - Gr. 2 and the Clasico Postin - Gr. 2 in November. He will start from the outside post with Tiago Josue Pereira guiding him.
Soi Phet - has 24 career starts with five wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. He made his graded stakes debut September 28 and finished a good third in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita and has just three starts since - a fourth in the minor Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita October 31 and a pair of fifths - the minor Tiznow Stakes last time out April 26 and the Grade 3 Native Diver at Hollywood Park December 14. He had a four race win streak last summer however - three Allowance races at Del Mar and a Starter Allowance at Hollywood Park in June. He leaves from the rail with Martin Garcia aboard.