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Jeranimo Roars Home in San Gabriel

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 32-9-6-5.

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 1:35.03.

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 though.”

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 sixth.


 

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