English-bred Slim Shadey
, an impressive front running winner of the
Grade II San Marcos Stakes going 1 ¼ miles on turf Feb. 9, heads a deep
and competitive field of nine in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Luis
Rey Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf.
Paired for the first time with comebacking Hall of
Fame jockey Gary Stevens, English-bred Slim Shadey made national news in
winning the Grade II San Marcos Stakes on Feb. 9, as the victory
provided Stevens with his first added money score in over seven years
and underscored the validity of the Idaho native’s improbable return to
Off at odds of 5-1 and drawn in post position 11 in a field of
12, Stevens gunned “Slim” from the gate and under expert handling, set
fractions of 24.10, 48.20, 1:12.47 and 1:35.80. He prevailed by a
length over 7-2 favorite Interaction while getting 1 ¼ miles on turf in
Trained by Simon Callaghan, Slim Shadey, who was second, beaten a
head in last year’s San Luis Rey, could well have regained the “Swag”
attributed to him in other graded stakes wins such as the Grade II John
Henry at Santa Anita on Sept. 30 and last year’s San Marcos.
The complete field from the rail out for Saturday’s Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes is as follows:
Big shift in post position this time and Stevens will likely
have to show his cards early. Speedy California-bred John Scott could
menace Slim Shadey early, but his win in the San Marcos could have Slim
Shadey primed for even bigger things to come.
Owned and bred in England by Phil Cunningham, the 5-year-old
gelding by Val Royal earned a 97 Beyer Speed figure last time out. A
win in the San Luis Rey could set the stage for a high profile
engagement in the Grade I Woodford Reserve on Kentucky Derby Day at
Churchill Downs. With a record of 26-5-4-0, Shim Shadey has earnings of
Although he made a solid run from well off the pace, Interaction
came up a length short in the San Marcos as the 7-2 favorite. Second
in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 15, the Ron McAnally trainee
is a bona fide deep closer who would surely benefit from a hotly
With Joe Talamo away to ride at Oaklawn Park on Saturday,
veteran Brice Blanc, who won on Interaction back on June 16, has
regained the mount. A 7-year-old Argentine-bred horse, Interaction has
$615,463 in earnings from a record of 21-6-5-2.
Based at Betfair Hollywood Park, Tiz Gianni closed much ground
to win the $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Handicap at Turf Paradise on Jan.
12, winning by a neck and getting one mile on turf in 1:36.80. The
5-year-old Florida-bred horse by Giacomo also netted a 93 Beyer Speed
figure—the highest of his career. Ridden by Phoenix-based Jake Barton
in the Fitzsimmons, Tiz Gianni will get the services of nationally
acclaimed jockey Rosie Napravnik on Saturday.
Trained by John Shirreffs, he is owned by Desert Sun Stables. His record stands at 14-4-2-1, with earnings of $162,925.
The 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Bertrando has overcome
a tendon injury and appears to be at his career peak. A gutty winner
of the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes against statebreds going 1 1/8
miles on turf Jan. 26, he was entered to run in the Grade I Santa Anita
Handicap on March 2, but the connections opted to remain on turf.
Although he has never run this far, John Scott will likely press
the pace and hope to out-game the competition late. Bred by John
Harris and Scott Gross, he’s owned by John Harris’ Harris Farms and is
trained by Carla Gaines.
With $460,304 in earnings, he has a record of 12-6-1-2.
FIRE WITH FIRE
Fourth in the San Marcos, beaten four lengths by Slim Shadey,
the Neil Drysdale-trained Fire With Fire was subsequently second, beaten
a length as the 2-1 favorite, in a second condition allowance going 1
1/8 miles on turf March 3.
The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Distorted Humor will be
ridden for the first time by Tyler Baze and he should be forwardly
place. Owned by David Heerensperger, Fire With Fire has a record of
20-2-6-3 and earnings of $215,444.
A 4-year-old California-bred gelding by Unusual Heat, Huntsville
had a productive 2012, banking $148,674 from 16 starts. Second, beaten
a nose by John Scott in the Crystal Water Stakes, the Barry Abrams
trainee came back to run a non-threatening fifth in the San Marcos and
was sixth in turf allowance on March 3.
Owned by Madeline Auerbach LLC, and Abrams, Huntsville was bred
by Auerbach and David Abrams. He has $206,975 in earnings from an
overall mark of 25-3-6-0. He’ll be ridden for the first time by Alonso
Quinonez and it’s likely he could sit mid-pack early.
Trained by Jorge Gutierrez, he could be the most rapidly
improving horse in Saturday’s San Luis Rey. An eye catching winner of
the one mile turf Super Bowl Party Starter Allowance Handicap on Feb. 3,
he was then a dazzling, 5 ¼ length winner of a first condition
allowance going 1 ¼ miles on turf Feb. 21. Both of those wins were
accomplished in gate to wire fashion with Rafael Bejarano up.
With Bejarano committed to ride at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, the
4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Hat Trick will be ridden for the first
time by Victor Espinoza. Owned by Dye and Venneri Racing Inc., Bright
Thought jumps way up the class ladder and will get an acid test for
class in the San Luis Rey.
He has earnings of $74,500 and has three wins from six starts.
ALL SQUARED AWAY
A solid third, beaten 3 ¼ lengths by Slim Shadey in the San
Marcos, All Squared has as a come from behind style that could suit him
well in the San Luis Rey. A gutty allowance winner going 1 ¼ miles on
turf Jan. 6, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Bellamy Road will
be trying a mile and a half for the first time.
Trained by Peter Miller, All Squared Away is owned by Brous
Stable, Wachtel Stable or Wire to Wire Stables and partners. His
records stands at 19-4-2-3, with earnings of $274,809.
A winner of last year’s San Luis Rey and the closing day Grade
II San Juan Capistrano Handicap, the veteran gelding has no distance
limitations and a mountain of back class. Trainer Neil Drysdale has
freshened the son of Sligo Bay since his sixth place finish in the
Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 15.
Drysdale vanned Bourbon Bay from his Betfair Hollywood Park base
to drill six furlongs on the Santa Anita lawn on Monday in 1:14.40.
He’ll be ridden for the first time by veteran David Flores.
Owned by David Heerensperger, Bourbon Bay is the leading money
earner in the San Luis Rey field with $968,536. His record stands at
28-9-5-4. With Fire With Fire, he gives Drysdale and Heerensperger a
The complete field for Saturday’s Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes,
to be run as the eighth on a nine-race program with jockeys and weights
in post position order: Slim Shadey, Gary Stevens, 120; Interaction,
Brice Blanc, 118; Tiz Gianni, Rosie Napravnik, 118; John Scott, Martin
Garcia, 118; Fire With Fire, Tyler Baze, 118; Huntsville, Alonso
Quinonez, 118; Bright Thought, Victor Espinoza, 118; All Squared Away,
Edwin Maldonado, 118, and Bourbon Bay, David Flores, 120.