Photo: Benoit Photo
A galloping winner of the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles turf San Gabriel Stakes Jan. 4, 8-year-old Jeranimo heads a field of 14 older horses in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
Owned by B.J. Wright and Robert LaPenta, Jeranimo, a winner five starts back of the Grade I Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar, won the San Gabriel for the third time and will be seeking his 12th win in his 40th start for trainer Mike Pender on Saturday.
Jeranimo will again be handled by leading rider Rafael Bejarano, who has guided the son of Congaree to five of his wins in a remarkable career that began on Jan. 3, 2009 at Santa Anita. Although he has demonstrated varying styles over the years, Jeranimo has an electric turn of foot and is no doubt best suited at coming from off the pace.
A winner at odds of 8-5 of the Grade II, 1 ½ miles Hollywood Turf Cup Dec. 14, French-bred Lucayan has kept good company in seven stateside starts for trainer Neil Drysdale and like Jeranimo, will hope to be flying late in the San Marcos.
Drysdale will also be represented by Dreamy Kid, a winner of the Grade II Swaps Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on Hollywood’s cushion track eight starts back in July, 2011. Winless since, the 6-year-old horse by Lemon Drop Kid comes off a third place run in a one mile turf classified allowance Jan. 5 at Golden Gate Fields. He’s owned by his breeder, Robert S. Evans.
A big third in the Grade II Sir Beaufort Stakes going one mile on turf opening day, French-bred Si Sage is another with a good turn of foot who would benefit from a fast pace. Primarily a miler in France, 4-year-old Si Sage will be trying 1 ¼ miles for the first time. Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC, Rancho Temescal and Vayaconsuerte, LLC, Si Sage is conditioned by Darrell Vienna.
Although winless in six starts since taking last year’s San Marcos, Slim Shadey got back on the beam in running second to Jeranimo in this year’s San Gabriel. Sent to the lead by Corey Nakatani, the 6-year-old Val Royal gelding opened up a two-length advantage at the top of the lane, but was tagged late by the winner.
Trained by Simon Callaghan, Slim Shadey has four wins from nine starts at the distance and could be dangerous if left unbothered on the front end. Owned and bred in England by Phil Cunningham, Slim Shadey is 32-5-5-0 overall with earnings of $663,064.
Second, beaten a half length by Lucayan in the Hollywood Turf Cup, Tom Proctor’s Temeraine cuts back in distance two furlongs and will again be ridden by Gary Stevens. A winner three starts back of the Grade III, 1 ½ miles Kentucky Turf Cup with Stevens up, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Arch layed close in the Hollywood Turf Cup, but will likely try to rally from farther off the pace Saturday. He’s owned by Niall Racing.
Third, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Lucayan in the Hollywood Turf Cup, Richard Mandella’s Segway won a first condition allowance gate to wire going 1 ¼ miles on turf two starts back Oct. 27, and will likely be sent away from the gate by Flavien Prat in the San Marcos. Owned by his breeders, Wertheimer and Frere, the 5-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway rates an upset chance Saturday.
Mandella will also saddle Stepaside Farms, LLC’s Power Foot, who comes off a stalking win over the course and distance on Jan. 9. Power Foot will be making his 15th career start and will be seeking his first stakes win.
Irish-bred Vagabond Shoes was scratched out of Saturday’s Grade II Arcadia Stakes by trainer John Sadler and has the credentials to make his presence felt in the San Marcos. Fifth, beaten just 2 ¼ lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Nov. 2, the 7-year-old gelding is one of many who will likely be taken well of the early pace. Vagabond Shoes is owned by Hronis Racing, LLC.
Third, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Jeranimo in the San Gabriel, trainer Peter Miller’s Artic North should get a stalking trip as he seeks his first stakes win. Owned by Wachtel Stable and Leonard Friedman, Artic North, a 5-year-old gelding by North Light, will be making his eighth career start in the San Marcos.
An even fourth, beaten 3 ¼ lengths by Jeranimo in the San Gabriel, Utopian, a winner four starts back of the Grade III Inglewood Handicap in April 2012, will be making his third start off a lengthy layoff for trainer John Shirreffs and will hope to improve with the added distance. Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, he has a win, a second and a third from three starts at the San Marcos distance.
Trainer Howard Zucker’s Bio Pro, a winner of the one mile turf Lure Stakes three starts back Oct. 27, could benefit from what appears to be a shortage of early lick. Owned by William Marks, Bio Pro will try 1 ¼ miles for the first time on Saturday.
Mark Tsagalakis’ lightly raced Dubai You X Y Z is also trying the San Marcos distance for the first time. An impressive classified allowance winner going one mile on turf Dec. 6, the 7-year-old E Dubai gelding will be close to the pace with regular rider Brice Blanc up. The San Marcos will be his 11th career start and his second stakes engagement. He has six wins, two seconds and a third from 10 tries.
Although he has layed close on several occasions, Mr. T Bird rallied from far back to take a second condition turf allowance at 1 1/8 miles Dec. 13. Trained by Mike Puype, he’s owned by Three Kings Racing.
The complete field for the San Marcos Stakes, to be run as the seventh on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Slim Shadey, Corey Nakatani, 120; Vagabond Shoes, Victor Espinoza, 123; Mr T Bird, Tyler Baze, 118; Utopian, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 118; Power Foot, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Jeranimo, Rafael Bejarano, 123; Lucayan, Mike Smith, 123; Segway, Flavien Prat, 118; Would You, Irving Orozco, 118; Bio Pro, Mario Gutierrez, 118; Artic North, Joe Talamo, 118; Si Sage, Martin Garcia, 118; Temeraine, Gary Stevens, 118, and Dubai You X Y Z, Brice Blanc, 118.