With surprising ease, seven-year-old Jeranimo
steamed home under a
hand ride from Rafael Bejarano to win Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 San
Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita by 2 ¾ lengths, getting a mile and one
eighth on turf in a rapid 1:46.50, leaving his connections optimistic
about trying longer distances throughout the year.
“We have always had hopes of running in the Arlington Million,”
said winning trainer Mike Pender. “We think this horse can go a mile
and a quarter if he gets his trip and gets the right pace in front of
him. As he gets older we are going to try and turn him into a
marathoner. He might surprise a few people.”
Jeranimo, who made the early lead and was second in last year’s
San Gabriel, came off an even effort in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles
Citation Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in which he ran fourth,
beaten four lengths at odds of 3-1.
On Sunday, he was last early in the seven-horse field and was
into contention readily around the far turn while caught three-wide
turning for home.
“I had a ton of horse from the beginning all the way to the
end,” said Bejarano. “I never had to use my stick. He just galloped
the whole race. Coming into the stretch I asked a little bit and he
responded with a big kick. The way he ran today was impressive.”
Owner B.J. Wright, as his is custom, was effusive in his praise
of Pender, who played quarterback for Wright on a youth football team
more than 30 years ago.
“What a training job!” said Wright. “I mean, this horse is seven years old and he’s getting better.”
Jeranimo, off as the 2-1 second choice, paid $6.00, $3.80 and
$2.60. A Kentucky-bred by Congaree, Jeranimo picked up $90,000 for his
win, running his career earnings to $1,197,400 from a record of
As expected, Chosen Miracle and Joe Talamo went to the front in
the early going, carving out splits of 22.98, 46.75, 1:10.98 and
Off as the third choice at 5-2, Chosen Miracle got pressure
throughout from 42-1 longshot Fast Track and Martin Garcia, and tired
the final eighth, finishing third, a half-length behind 20-1 shot
Temple’s Door and Tyler Baze.
“I don’t know if I would have won, but I would have run a good
second if that horse (last-place finisher Fast Track) wouldn’t have
pressed me. It just went too quick up front. My horse really ran hard
Temple’s Door, who was fifth in the Citation, paid $12.40 and $6.20.
Chosen Miracle finished a length in front of Juniper Pass and Julien Leparoux, returning $3.20 to show.
Slim Shadey, ridden by Garrett Gomez, was the 3-2 favorite and
appeared to be in perfect position to menace mid-way around the far turn
but flattened out badly through the drive, finishing a well beaten