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Mandella Readies Setsuko for Big Cap

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 5-year-old bay.


“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.”



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