Santa Anita Park - 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.
2019 San Marcos Stakes Odds & Entries
Race 9 on Santa Anita's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:42 PM
|2||Roman Rosso (ARG)||12-1||Evin Roman
|3||Chicago Style||3-1||Drayden Van Dyke
|5||Platinum Warrior (IRE)||12-1||Shane Foley
|6||Sejo (IRE)||12-1||Flavien Prat
|8||Beach View||5-1||Rafael Bejarano
|9||Lucky Soul||30-1||Heriberto Figueroa
|10||Flamboyant (FR)||12-1||Brice Blanc
|11||India Mantuana||20-1||Joel Rosario
|Thomas Bell, II|
|12||Ya Gotta Wanna||12-1||Aaron Gryder
|13||Prince of Arabia||30-1||Kent Desormeaux
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.
Owner: Glen Hill Farm | Trainer: Tom Proctor
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.
Owner: D P Racing, Inc. | Trainer: Jim Cassidy
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.
Owner: Tom Acker, Allen Racing, LLC, Michael Bloom & Jon Lindo | Trainer: Bill Spawr
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.
Owner: Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum | Trainer: Bob Baffert
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.
Owner: Levy Racing | Trainer: Leonard Powell
YA GOTTA WANNA
Ya Gotta Wanna returns to stakes company Saturday in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes for older horses scheduled for 1 ¼ miles on turf. It will mark his first race since last Dec. 28 when the five-year-old Proud Citizen gelding steadied finishing seventh as the 2-1 favorite in an overnight race.
"He's ready to run," said trainer Phil D'Amato. "We're trying something different by taking the blinkers off to try to get him to relax more and hopefully he'll finish better."
Ya Gotta Wanna has had 14 career starts, racing in blinkers in his last 13 straight.
Trainer: Philip D'Amato