It’s on to the Santa Anita Handicap on March 3 for Setsuko after his
first victory as a gelding in last Saturday’s 10th race, an allowance
test at 1 1/16 miles. Setsuko was second in last year’s Big ‘Cap,
missing by a nose at 25-1 to victorious Game On Dude.
Richard Mandella is no stranger to the Santa Anita Handicap,
having won the race three times, with Rock Hard Ten in 2005, Malek in
1998 and Siphon in 1997. He might have had a fourth if pre-race favorite
Pleasantly Perfect, the sire of Setsuko, had not come down with an
11th-hour injury in 2004.
“He was never a bad actor,” Mandella said of Setsuko in explaining the decision to geld the
“But Setsuko didn’t seem real serious about his job, hanging all
the time,” Mandella continued. “We say ‘hanging,’ and that’s probably
unfair, because look where I ran him, handicaps, derbies; tough races.
“We’ve still got three weeks before the race, but he came out of his race great. We’re excited about the idea of running.”