Photo: Benoit Photo
Cherubim, an up and coming colt by Henny Hughes, heads a competitive field of six 3-year-olds going seven furlongs in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes, an important steppingstone to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 5.
An impressive 3 ¼ length maiden winner going six furlongs Dec. 28, the Simon Callaghan-trained Cherubim earned a San Vicente best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 90, and will be making his third career start with regular rider Mike Smith up.
A well beaten eighth in his debut going six furlongs at Hollywood Park Nov. 24, Cherubim was dismissed at 20-1 in breaking his maiden.
“He was on the inside and it was his first time out,” said Callaghan of Cherubim’s debut. “I’m not really sure why he didn’t run well on the synthetic, but we always felt he was a really good horse and he really showed it last time.”
Cherubim’s maiden win has proven to be a productive race, as the second and third place finishers have both come back to win at the maiden special weight level.
Owned by Gerald Frankel, Cherubim was bred in Kentucky and is out of the Cherokee Run mare Wings of an Angel.
Second at 4-5 two starts back to the highly regarded Shared Belief in the Grade III Hollywood Prevue Nov. 10, John Sadler’s Kobe’s Back clipped heels at the half mile pole and was a well beaten 10th in his most recent start, the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles CashCall Futurity Dec. 14.
Trained by Sadler and owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s CRK Stable, Kobe’s Back overcame a bad start to win by 3 ¼ lengths in his debut, the 5 ½ furlong Willard Proctor Stakes on June 15. By the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, Kobe’s Back will be making his fourth start on Sunday.
Second to the highly regarded Indianapolis in the six furlong San Pedro Stakes Jan. 20, Papa Turf was a well beaten fourth three starts back in the Hollywood Prevue and will be making his sixth start in the San Vicente—making him the most experienced horse in the field.
Trained by James Kasparoff, the Kentucky-bred colt by Yes It’s True made Indianapolis earn his win in the San Pedro and “Papa” has worked three times since, with his most recent work a half mile at Santa Anita in 47.40 on Feb. 10. Owned by De Sha Horse Racing, LLC, Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran. He has a win, a second and a third place finish to his credit.
Nick Alexander’s homebred Grazen’s Hope, unbeaten in two starts at Golden Gate Fields, will try deeper waters at Santa Anita on Sunday. A first-out winner Dec. 28 at six furlongs, Grazen’s Hope was a handy 1 ¾ length allowance winner at 7-5 going a mile on Jan. 26.
Trained by Steve Miyadi, Grazen’s Hope, a California-bred colt by Grazen, drew the rail and will be ridden for the first time by Martin Garcia.
Bob Baffert’s Roger Rocket overcame a slow start to win first-out going 5 ½ furlongs Jan. 18 and will again be ridden by Corey Nakatani. A Kentucky-bred colt by Pulpit, he was up to win by a head at 5-2 and figures to improve second time out. Owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc., Roger Rocket has worked three times since his maiden win, his most recent drill a five furlong move in 1:00.20 on Feb. 10.
Although still a maiden, trainer Denise Breuer’s Rprettyboyfloyd was a close second in his second start, a 6 ½ furlong maiden special weight on Jan. 26, earning a solid 82 Beyer number. A Kentucky-bred ridgling by Bluegrass Cat, he’s owned by Karl Pergola.
The complete field for the San Vicente Stakes, to be run as the fifth race on a nine-race card Sunday, with jockeys and post position order, all horses assigned 118 pounds: Grazen’s Hope, Martin Garcia; Rprettyboyfloyd, Brice Blanc; Papa Turf, Joe Talamo; Roger Rocket, Corey Nakatani; Cherubim, Mike Smith, and Kobe’s Back, Joel Rosario.