is a rare horse in today’s short-attention span society. Not only did he make history by winning the San Gabriel Stakes three times, he is still competing at a world-class level as a full horse at the grand old age of eight.
The durable Florida-bred son of Congaree was seventh, beaten just 3 ½ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at about 6 ½ furlongs last Nov. 2. In a display of his versatility, he returned to the races on Jan. 4 to win the Grade II San Gabriel at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Next up: Saturday’s Grade II San Marcos Stakes at a mile and a quarter on the grass.
“How many full eight year olds do you know right now who are still running at this level,” trainer Mike Pender asked rhetorically. “The San Gabriel probably was one of his best races even though he didn’t top a hundred Beyer (he earned a 98).
“He’s a wonderful horse, to win the San Gabriel three times. Around the barn, we all agree that he’s part human. He plays games with us; he’s like a little puppy. He’s always looking for something to do, something to stimulate himself.
“We play games with him and he looks forward to the interaction. But he’s so spoiled, we worry that when his career ends, he’ll become depressed away from the race track, because he really has a home and a family here.
“Even when I gave him a three-month break during his 4-year-old year, I visited him on the farm and he was not happy. The quicker we got him back to the track, the better.”
In 39 career starts, Jeranimo has an 11-6-5 record with earnings of $1,521,364 for owners Robert LaPenta and B.J. Wright.
The San Marcos field: Slim Shadey, Corey Nakatani, 6-1; Vagabond Shoes, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Mr T Bird, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Utopian, Jose Valdivia Jr., 20-1; Power Foot, Edwin Maldonado, 15-1; Jeranimo, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Lucayan, Mike Smith, 6-1; Segway, Flavien Prat, 20-1; Would You, Irving Orozco, 30-1; Bio Pro, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1. Si Sage, Martin Garcia, 20-1; Temeraine, Gary Stevens, 6-1; and Dubai You X Y Z, Brice Blanc, 6-1. Artic North was scratched.