Cleopatra's Strike, a 7-year-old Ontario Canadian-bred gelding trained by trainer Phil D'Amato, heads a field of seven older horses going a mile and one eighth on turf in Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Most recently a close fourth in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup going 1 1/2 miles on Dec. 1 at Del Mar, this chestnut son of Smart Strike took the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship here at Santa Anita two starts back on Sept. 28.
D'Amato will also send out Overdue, who although ninth in the Hollywood Turf Cup, had posted solid Beyer Speed figures in a pair of turf allowance victories leading into his most recent start.
Claimed 13 starts back for $20,000, the Richard Baltas-conditioned North County Guy sped to a one length, gate to wire victory in a mile and three eighths turf allowance on Nov. 24 at Del Mar, earning a career-top 92 Beyer in the process.
||Desert Stone (IRE)
||North County Guy
Lightly raced in 2019, this Smart Strike gelding had one win and two seconds from four starts, good for earnings of $185,400. Ridden by Manuel Franco when beaten one length by eastern invader Oscar Dominguez in the Hollywood Turf Cup, he'll be reunited with Abel Cedillo, who orchestrated his John Henry win at a mile and one eighth two starts back.
Second, beaten a nose in last year's San Gabriel, "Cleopatra" looks like the horse to beat on Saturday.
Owner: Slam Dunk Racing and Michael Nentwig | Trainer: Phil D'Amato
Off at 7-1 in the Hollywood Turf Cup Dec. 1, Overdue stalked the early pace but tired badly late to finish ninth under Mike Smith, who will be riding him for the fourth consecutive time. A half length turf allowance winner three starts back at Del Mar going 1 1/16 miles, he was up to win a second condition allowance at 1 1/8 miles on turf here on Oct. 5.
With an overall mark of 8-3-2-1, this 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Overanalyze will be making his second stakes start on Saturday.
Owner: H & E Ranch, Inc. | Trainer: Phil D'Amato