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OffTrackBetting.com - The 72nd running of the iconic turf fixture attracts a wide open field of 10 older horses. Trainer Jeff Mullins' Itsinthepost heads a wide open field in Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes (Race 7) for older horses at a mile and one eighth over the Santa Anita turf.
In addition to Itsinthepost, several others will vie for top billing in the 72nd renewal of the iconic San Gabriel, including Jerry Hollendorfer's He Will, Paddy Gallagher's Flamboyant, Vladimir Cerin's Top of the Game and several others.
A newly turned 6-year-old gelding, this French-bred comes off his finest year, with three wins and as many seconds from nine turf starts-good for 2017 earnings of $573,000. Most recently seventh, beaten 5 ¼ lengths in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf at a mile and one half Nov. 4, Itsinthepost rallied resolutely to get up and win the Grade II John Henry Turf Challenge at 1 ¼ miles here two starts back on Oct. 1. A three-time graded stakes winner, he's three for five at the San Gabriel distance and with Tyler Baze back aboard, he rates top billing on Saturday.
Owner: Red Baron's Barn, LLC | Trainer: Jeff Mullins
A 6-year-old California-bred full horse by Cyclotron, he's one of several who would benefit from a fast pace. Most recently second, beaten a nose in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 26, He Will was flattered by the fact that the third place finisher, Pee Wee Reese, came back to score impressively in the ungraded Joe Hernandez Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita's hillside turf this past Monday. With "Big Money" Mike Smith back aboard for the third consecutive time, He Will will hope to time things right as he stretches out a sixteenth of a mile off his most recent start.
Owner: All Schlaich Stables, LLC, Hollendorfer, LLC, Team Green | Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Although winless in seven starts in 2017, this 7-year-old French-bred gelding managed one second and four third place finishes last year-all in graded stakes competition. Most recently third, beaten two lengths in the Grade II, mile and one half Hollywood Turf Cup Nov. 24, Flamboyant will be ridden for the first time by Drayden Van Dyke as he returns to a course on which he's posted three wins from 11 starts. Best suited as a deep closer, Flamboyant would be well served by fast early fractions.
Owner: David Bienstock and Chuck Winner | Trainer: Paddy Gallagher
Although he's winless in three starts on turf and has run on dirt in his last four starts, Top of the Game was scratched out of the Grade II San Antonio Stakes on opening day to run in the San Gabriel and must be highly respected off of his huge one mile main track win two starts back on Oct. 28. Although he was a well beaten fourth at 2-1 in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 25, this 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Desert Party looms dangerous with Kent Desormeaux back aboard for the eighth consecutive time.
Owner: Holly and David Wilson | Trainer: Vladimir Cerin
Abbondanza Racing and Nathan McCauley's Free Rose, who won the La Jolla Handicap (G3T) and Del Mar Derby (G2T) at Del Mar in 2016, only raced once in 2017 before a bout of colic and the ensuing surgery knocked him out for the rest of the year. That lone start was a fourth-place run in the Shoemaker Mile (G1T) June 3, when the son of Munnings finished two lengths behind winner Bal a Bali.
"He was ready to run at Del Mar and then he colicked on a really hot day at Santa Anita," said trainer Richard Baltas. "He had surgery and then 90 more days (off)... His last two works have been good, and he's never been really good (training on the main track), because he's better on the grass. He might still need a race, but we're glad to have him back and racing."
Owner: Abbondanza Racing | Trainer: Richard Baltas
Race 7 on Santa Anita's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:30 PM
|1||Flamboyant (FR)||5-1||Drayden Van Dyke||Patrick Gallagher|
|2||Editore (BRZ)||15-1||Brice Blanc||Paulo Lobo|
|3||Top of the Game||8-1||Kent Desormeaux||Vladimir Cerin|
|4||Win the Space||20-1||Rafael Bejarano||George Papaprodromou|
|5||Tequila Joe||8-1||Joseph Talamo||Michael McCarthy|
|6||Isotherm||7-2||Flavien Prat||Philip D'Amato|
|7||He Will||4-1||Mike Smith||Jerry Hollendorfer|
|8||Itsinthepost (FR)||3-1||Tyler Baze||Jeff Mullins|
|9||Free Rose||10-1||Rajiv Maragh||Richard Baltas|
|10||Smokey Image||20-1||Evin Roman||Carla Gaines|
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