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
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.