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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Queens County: San Pablo Returns to Big A

San Pablo, 3-2-0 in five starts at Aqueduct Racetrack, will return to the Big A on Saturday to compete as the heavy favorite in the $75,000 Queens County.

The Queens County is a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up.

San Pablo, owned by Burning Sands Stable, won three straight to begin the 2011-12 Aqueduct meet, including a pair of easy scores in the Flying Chevron and Shots Are Ringing overnight stakes. He then lost a pair of photo finishes to Marilyn’s Guy in the As Indicated overnight stakes and Grade 3 Excelsior.

Since then, San Pablo has posted a record of 3-0-0 in five starts, breaking through at the graded level when he won the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin in August at Monmouth Park. After beating one horse when ninth in the Grade 1 TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup in September at Belmont Park, the 4-year-old rebounded to best three opponents in the Swatara on November 21 at Penn National.

“Last year, he was going well enough for us to think about taking a tilt at the [Grade 2] Oaklawn Handicap,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but he’s come back and had a good summer campaign. “He’s the same San Pablo. He trains well, his attitude is great, and he loves his job. He gives his all every time, outside of the Jockey Club. I don’t know what sort of excuse he had that day.”

Isn’t He Perfect has frequently chased home San Pablo, placing in four stakes won by San Pablo. He was third in the Swatara, 5 ¼ lengths behind San Pablo and 3 ½ lengths ahead of the fourth-place finisher. The Queens County will be his second straight start for trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal, who trained the Guy American Racing Stables color-bearer earlier in his career before the colt was transferred to Rick Dutrow, Jr.

Mike Luzzi has the call aboard Isn’t He Perfect, 5-1, from post 6.

Chris DeCarlo, who rode San Pablo in the Iselin and Swatara, has the call on Saturday. The duo will depart from post position 5 at 3-5 on the morning line.

Shipping in from Maryland is PTK, LLC’s Tonto Fontenot, second in the West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker's Cup Stakes in August at Mountaineer and a nose winner of an off-the-turf optional claimer on November 14 at Laurel Park.

Tonto Fontenot, 6-1, will depart from post 3. Joshua Navarro will ride for trainer Dane Kobiskie.

The field also includes Indy Scent, Arch Traveler, and Gallant Fields.


 

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