Photo: Benoit Photo
Fitness was the determining factor in Clubhouse Ride
running in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs Saturday. The 6-year-old Candy Ride horse was also nominated to Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap at 1 ¼ miles and the Kilroe Mile.
“It came down to fitness,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “He wasn’t fit enough to run in the Big ’Cap at a mile and a quarter. I didn’t get enough bottom into him. He had a layoff and his feet were messed up; he really needed his last race (fifth by about four lengths in the Joe Hernandez Stakes on Feb. 23, his first race in five months).
“A mile and a quarter at this point in time would be just asking for too much.”
The field for the San Carlos, which is the seventh race: Sahara Sky, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Clubhouse Ride, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Zeewat, Corey Nakatani, 10-1; Big Macher, Luis Saez, 6-1; Cyclometer, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Wild Dude, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Ready for More, Martin Garcia, 15-1; Let’s Get Crackin, Agapito Delgadillo, 8-1; Midnight Transfer, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; and Shakin It Up, Mike Smith, 3-1.MINOR CHINA DOLL STAKES MAJOR CHALLENGE FOR HANDICAPPERS
Dwarfed in recognition Saturday by the Santa Anita Handicap, the San Felipe Stakes, the Frank E. Kilroe Mile and the San Carlos Stakes, but not by potential talent and sheer competitiveness, the $75,000 China Doll Stakes seems lost in the proverbial shuffle.
But the one mile turf test for 3-year-old fillies, which goes as the sixth race, drew a full field of 13. How tough is it? Eleven of the 13 have won at least once in their last two starts. From a handicapping standpoint, it’s perhaps the most challenging of the day’s 11 races.
Trainer Eoin Harty sends out Sushi Empire in the China Doll for owner George (Chip) McEwen III, who races as Wounded Warrior Stables and whose Uncle Sigh continues on the Triple Crown trail in the Wood Memorial on April 5.
Sushi Empire won the Blue Norther impressively at one mile on turf Jan. 1, before finishing seventh and last in her first try on dirt, in the Grade I Las Virgenes on Feb. 1.
Said Harty of the China Doll: “It’s a full field and anyone can win.”
The field for the China Doll: Anniversary Kitty, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; Loan Savant, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1; Sushi Empire, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; Soresca, Chantal Sutherland Kruse, 20-1; Screen Goddess, Joel Rosario, 8-1; Tiz Kissable, Tyler Baze, 30-1; Nashoba’s Gold, Joe Talamo, 9-2; Diversy Harbor, Gary Stevens, 4-1; Uzziel, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Sheza Smoke Show, Luis Saez, 12-1; On the Backstreets, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Savings Account, Mike Smith, 8-1; and Full Ransom, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1.