British-bred Slim Shadey, whose 13-1
upset victory in a first-level allowance event one month ago halted an 11-race
losing streak, turned Santa Anita’s 60th running of the Grade II,
$150,000 San Marcos Stakes topsy turvy on Saturday.
With jockey David Flores at the
controls, the 4-year-old gelding was never headed while registering a
wire-to-wire win in the mile-and-one-quarter turf fixture at odds of 11-1. Slim
Shadey gamely held on to edge 13-1 shot Utopian by a head with 4-1 Norvsky
another three-quarters-of-a-length back in third. The final time was 2:01.55.
Most stunning perhaps was that Sanagas,
the 4-5 favorite, and 2-1 Bourbon Bay, the San Marcos’ defending champion who
had been all but unbeatable over the course, never were serious factors.
Millionaire The Usual Q. T. was scratched Saturday morning after developing a
Sanagas, who had dominated Bourbon
Bay in his West Coast debut at Hollywood Park last November when taking the
Grade I Hollywood Turf Cup, showed absolutely no punch after tracking the
leader under a ground saving ride by Joel Rosario. He faded to last in the
field of six while making his first start for trainer Peter Miller. Sanagas had
been privately sold following his stirring triumph at Hollywood Park.
Bourbon Bay finished a
non-threatening fourth after having won 5 of his 6 previous starts over the
Santa Anita grass with only a nose loss depriving him of perfection for Hall of
Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.
For Slim Shadey, a son of Val Royal
owned and bred in England by Phil Cunningham, his first graded stakes win came
in his third U.S. start for trainer Simon Callaghan and followed his allowance
race victory at the same distance on turf.
“We planned on being on the lead and
wanted to get him to relax,” Callaghan said in the winner’s circle. “David
(Flores) gave him an absolutely perfect ride. The horse was training really
good. I thought he was in tough today, but when you can go to the front and
have tactical speed like him, it’s good. There was no real pace in the race,
and David just gave him a perfect ride. It’s nice when the plans come off.”
Flores expanded on the 28-year-old
British-born trainer’s remarks. “Last time, he (Slim Shadey) came off the pace,
he ran excellent,” said Flores. “Today, it was a stake and nobody had speed, so
we decided to take a chance and take the lead. At that post position (No. 5), I
didn’t want to be carried wide, so we took a chance, and it worked out fine.
“I believe this horse is getting
better with every race. The last race he showed a lot, and he showed even more
today. I’m very pleased with this guy and I hope to see him more often. I
really love to ride for people like Simon Callaghan because he’s a nice guy and
very humble. The older guys are going, so I hope we get more guys like him
The victory in the San Marcos was
worth $90,000 and increased the career earnings of Slim Shadey to $212,038 from
a career record of 3-1-0 in 16 starts. He had failed to hit the board in four
Group competitions in the United Kingdom where he earned $68,149 in 13 races.
Slim Shadey paid $25.20, $8.40 and
$4.80 for his first graded stakes victory. Runner-up Utopian, ridden by Mike
Smith, returned $9.80 and $5.20. Norvsky, with Joe Talamo aboard, paid $4.60 to
Both Miller and Rosario thought that
the San Marcos distance conspired against Sanagas following his win at 1 ½
miles in the Hollywood Turf Cup. “I think the horse needs more distance,”
Rosario said. “He was one paced the whole way. He felt comfortable today, but I
still think he needs more distance.”
Said Miller: “He didn’t get away
well, but we thought he might have trouble quickening going this short.
A-mile-and-a-quarter is too short for him, so we were worried about that.”
Callaghan said future plans are
pending for Slim Shadey. “We haven’t got an obvious plan for him right now,” he
said. “He can maybe go a little further, or maybe he’s just a
mile-and-a-quarter horse. We’ll have to think about it.”