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Las Vegas, NV - Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California will be the scene of the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes Saturday, January 4. Horses four years old and upward will be featured as they go 1 1/8 miles on Santa Anita's turf track for the winner's portion of the $200,000 purse.
A wide open field of 11 older horses have been confirmed for the San Gabriel - race 8 on Santa Anita's Saturday schedule. Post time is 4:00 PM. Let's take a brief look into the credentials of all 11 combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.
Jeranimo - defending champion in this race Jeranimo (he also won this race in 2010) returned to prominence last June with a win in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile last year and then finished sixth in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile and fourth in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park November 23. In 2013 he had the San Gabriel score and a win in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes July 20 sprinkled in with some ugly performances. Last time out he continued to prove inconsistent - a seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint after a ninth in the Grade 1 Awesome Again here and another ninth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 25. He hasn't been great lately but hopes to snap his funk in a race he won twice in the past. Rafael Bejarano who rode Jeranimo in his latest win gets the mount.
Slim Shadey - British bred gelding had seven starts in 2013 and has placed in just one - a win in the 1 1/4 mile Grade 2 San Marcos at Santa Anita in February. He is coming off a sixth in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf after an eighth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read and another pair of sixths in graded stakes action. He has five wins and four second place finishes in 31 career starts but enters the San Gabriel in less-than-stellar form. Corey Nakatani will be aboard Slim Shade for the first time Saturday hoping to snap him out of his current funk.
Dubai You X Y Z - has one graded stakes start in his career - a sixth in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park in June 2012 but has placed in every other of his 9 career starts including six wins. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Hollywood Park December 6 after a pair of seconds in similar races earlier in 2013. He has never won a stakes race but did triumph in his only start at this distance. Dubai You X Y Z has been consistently good and looks ready for his second start in graded stakes company.
Fire With Fire - has been a bit up and down in his recent graded stakes action - a third last time out in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate November 29, a third in the 2012 Del Mar Handicap and in the 2013 Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes have been his best results. Other results include fifth place finishes in the 2013 Del Mar Handicap, in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano and the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup. He had a win in the minor Bull Dog Handicap October 13 after a second in the minor Ralph M. Hinds Handicap and he did win the minor Joseph T. Grace Handicap at Santa Rosa in August. Fire With Fire enters having won two of his last five starts with a second and a third over that span but still looking for a breakthrough in graded stakes company.
San Gabriel Stakes betting at Santa Anita Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Utopian - raced six times in 2012 with a win in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap being his best result. Before that he had just one second place finish in his previous four starts - behind Slim Shadey at the 2012 Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita on February 11. He ended his 2012 campaign with a third in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham and then was forced to the sidelines for over 16 months. He returned October 27 and finished seventh in the minor Lure Stakes on this very track.
Willyconker - Irish trained gelding burst on to the scene last winter with a win in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe after a second in the Grade 2 Arcadia but hasn't been the same since. His last four graded stakes races have resulted in a ninth at the Mervin H. Muniz in April 2012, a tenth in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes in February 2013, a fifth in August in the Grade 2 Fourstardave and a sixth in the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile here October 5. He did have two Allowance Optional Claiming scores in 2013 and he is coming off an impressive Claiming score by 4 1/2 lengths at Hollywood Park in December but has placed in just two of his last eight starts overall.
Artic North - Peter Miller trained gelding has six career starts with two wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Santa Anita October 10 after a MSW win at Del Mar in September. Last time out was a fifth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup December 14 after a sixth in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct November 16. Artic North will seek his first stakes win Saturday with Joe Talamo in the saddle.
Te Rapa - has 24 career starts but makes his graded stakes debut Saturday. He enters the San Gabriel having alternated wins and third place finishes in his last six starts overall - the last being a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Hollywood Park December 6. He has six wins, three seconds and five third place finishes in 24 career starts but takes a huge step up in competition Saturday.
Huntsville - had 15 starts in 2012 - zero wins, three seconds and three third place finishes. He did have a good third in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in August but hasn't looked good since - a tenth in the Grade 3 Eddie D and a tenth in the minor Lure Stakes October 27 are among the poor results. Last time out was a sixth in the Hollywood Turf Cup December 14. Huntsville has 36 career starts with three wins, seven seconds and three third place finishes.
Empty Headed - has 14 career starts for trainer Barry Abrams but Saturday marks his stakes debut. He has failed to place in his last two starts - a seventh December 13 in an Allowance Optional Claiming and a sixth before that in a similar race December 6. Prior to those result Empty Headed won three of four races - all Allowance races.
Black Spirit - makes his North American debut Saturday after 30 starts in Europe produced four wins, two seconds and three third place finishes. He hasn't placed in a race since September 2012 - a span of nine races when he won two straight. Black Spirit hopes to snap his skid Saturday but enters in poor form.
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