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Bright Thought Steps Up in San Luis Rey

Jorge Gutierrez is having a workmanlike meet at Santa Anita. Through 47 racing days, the 47-year-old trainer is among the second division leaders with seven wins from 45 starters, none coming in stakes races.

On Saturday, Gutierrez hopes to end the added money drought with outsider Bright Thought, a Kentucky-bred colt making his first stakes start for owners Michael, Joanne and Gil Dye of Phoenix, and Alex Venneri of La Canada in the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf.

A 4-year-old son of Hat Trick out of the Smart Strike dam Smart Thought, Bright Thought is coming off two straight front-running wins, at 2 ¼ lengths in the one-mile Super Bowl Party Handicap, and a 5 1/4-length romp in a mile and a quarter turf test last out, on Feb. 21.

“He’s bred to go two turns . . . I think a mile and a half is right up his alley,” Gutierrez said. “He has speed and can finish. That makes him extra dangerous.”

On paper, Bright Thought will have to outkick speedy and classy San Marcos Stakes winner Slim Shadey for his best chance of winning the San Luis Rey.

Gutierrez trained Bright Thought for his first start, a maiden loss at Betfair Hollywood Park last July. Then the colt was shipped east where he ran at Laurel, Parx and Penn National for trainer Stephanie Beattie, before returning to Gutierrez, who seeks his third straight victory with him on Saturday.

The field for the San Luis Rey, race eight of nine: Slim Shadey, Gary Stevens, 3-1; Interaction, Brice Blanc, 5-2; Tiz Gianni, Rosie Napravnik, 20-1; John Scott, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Fire With Fire, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Huntsville, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1; Bright Thought, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; All Squared Away, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; and Bourbon Bay, David Flores, 9-2.



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looking at Bright Thought for a mild upset in San Luis Rey

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