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Recent graded stakes winning Oscar Dominguez, a 7-year-old Irish-bred gelding, heads a field of seven older horses going a marathon mile and one half on turf in the Grade III, $100,000 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, March 21.
Trained by Richard Baltas, who heads the Winter Meet standings with 21 victories, Oscar Dominguez will be ridden for the first time by Italian-born Umberto Rispoli, who is now represented by highly respected veteran agent Scotty McClellan.
McClellan, who over a span of five-plus decades has represented top riders such as Darrel McHargue, Chris McCarron and Alex Solis, had been idle since Joe Talamo shifted his tack to Oaklawn Park in early January.
Most recently a close third to top turf horse United in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at a mile and one quarter Feb. 1, Oscar Dominguez was a late running winner of the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup two starts back on Dec. 1 and should relish the mile and one half distance on Saturday.
Race 7 at Santa Anita on Saturday, March 21 - Post 6:35 PM
|1||Swamp Souffle||12-1||Mario Gutierrez
|2||Camino Del Paraiso||3-1||Tiago Pereira
|4||Oscar Dominguez (IRE)||9-5||Umberto Rispoli
|5||Go for a Ride||20-1||Edwin Maldonado
|6||Ward 'n Jerry||2-1||Flavien Prat
|7||French Getaway||10-1||Rafael Bejarano
|Robert Hess, Jr.|
Trainer Mike Puype's California-bred Ward `n Jerry finished less than half a length behind Oscar Dominguez when third in the Hollywood Turf Cup and he comes off a second place finish versus state-breds in the Cal Cup Turf Classic at a mile and one eighth here on Jan. 18.
Trainer Steve Knapp's Swamp Souffle ran huge in his first race off of a $32,000 claim, daylighting a starter allowance field at a mile and one quarter on dirt here Feb. 29. With three wins from nine tries on grass, he's a dangerous horse that may employ front-running tactics.
California-bred Ashleyluvssugar, who won the 2015 San Luis Rey, will be making history on Saturday, as it's believed he's the only horse in Santa Anita history to start in the same race a total of four times. Winless in his last 15 starts, dating back to May, 2017, the 9-year-old gelding by Game Plan will be a longshot with Brice Blanc up.
Claimed for $40,000 eight starts back on Feb. 7, 2019, winning two races and finishing off the board just twice in his seven starts with team Baltas. Best suited as a deep closer, he rallied from last to finish third, beaten three quarters of a length by United in the San Marcos and rates a huge chance under turf master Rispoli at a mile and one half on Saturday.
With one win from four starts in his native Ireland, "Oscar" is now 38-6-6-5 with earnings of $451,630. A winner of the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup two starts back and close in all of his last five starts, all graded stakes, he's strictly the horse to beat in the San Luis Rey.
Owner: Nancy Messineo & Bruce Sands | Trainer: Richard Baltas
Third, beaten a neck by Oscar Dominguez two starts back in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup, this 7-year-old California-bred gelding by Luck Pulpit disappointed when second as the 2-1 favorite in the mile and one eighth Cal Cup Turf Classic.
A first condition allowance winner in open company going 1 3/8 miles on turf three starts back at Del Mar on Aug. 28, Ward `n Jerry should appreciate the mile and one half trip on Saturday with leading man Flavien Prat taking over in the saddle. With five wins from 19 starts, Ward `n Jerry, who has never run for a claiming tag, will be seeking his first stakes win.
Owner: Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams | Trainer: Mike Puype
Claimed out of a sixth place effort going 1 1/8 miles on turf two starts back for $32,000, this 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Bodemeister ran the race of his career in taking a starter allowance at 1 ¼ miles on dirt by 2 ¾ lengths Feb. 29.
Ridden for the first time by Rispoli, he pressed the early pace and opened up by three lengths heading to the far turn in a dominant performance. With Rispoli committed to Oscar Dominguez, Mario Gutierrez takes over on a much improved horse who may opt to press the likes of Ashleyluvssugar for early supremacy.
Owner: Steve Knapp, Sabina Romo-Zolotas & Steven Zolotas | Trainer: Steve Knapp
|Race Tracks||Time (EST)|