Dabster to give turf a try in Santa Anita's San Marcos Stakes

Mike Willman, Santa Anita
February 06, 2019 06:58pm
Dabster to give turf a try in Santa Anita's San Marcos Stakes
Photo: Benoit

In what appears to be the best betting race on Santa Anita’s 11-race card Saturday, the Grade 2, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes has attracted 13 older horses who will compete at a mile and one quarter on turf. Originally scheduled to be run this past Saturday, the San Marcos was shifted back a week due to heavy rains.  

An impressive allowance winner in his last two starts, trainer Jim Cassidy’s Epical might be the horse to beat in a wide open affair. While Epical appears to be the “now” horse, Bob Baffert’s classy Dabster looms the biggest question mark in the race, as he’ll be trying turf for the first time his 13th career start.  

Throw in hard-knocking graded stakes winners Chicago Style and Beach View, along with fresh and dangerous reformed claimer Unapologetic, and betting value should abound in this year’s renewal of the prestigious San Marcos.   

EPICAL  

Owner: D P Racing, Inc.                       
Trainer: Jim Cassidy  

An emphatic 2 1/4-length turf allowance winner going 1 1/8 miles here on Dec. 28, this 4-year-old Uncle Mo gelding went gate to wire through realistic splits of 47.40, 1:11 flat and 1:34.40 en route to a final clocking of 1:46.20. A 6 3/4-length turf allowance winner going 1 3/8 miles in similar fashion at Del Mar Nov. 15, Epical should be extremely tough as he steps into graded completion and stretches out furlong off of his most recent win. With back to back Beyer Speed Figures of 96 to his credit, he’ll be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Tyler Baze on Saturday.  

DABSTER  

Owner: Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum                               
Trainer: Bob Baffert  

Blessed with outstanding natural speed on dirt, this 5-year-old son of Curlin, out of the A.P. Indy mare On a Roll, has been facing top horses on dirt in his last two starts. Most recently third in the Grade 2 San Antonio on Dec. 26, he was second, beaten a neck, by 2017 Breeder’s Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway two starts back in the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar on Nov. 25. As second guessing anything Baffert does these days carries the aura of a “fool’s errand,” Dabster, on class alone, could go favored in the San Marcos with regular rider Joe Talamo up.  

CHICAGO STYLE 

Owner: Glen Hill Farm                                                                    
Trainer: Tom Proctor  

Consistent and hard-knocking, this 6-year-old Glen Hill homebred gelding by Kitten’s Joy is a great fit in the San Marcos and he should get a lively pace to run at. A neck winner of the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup two starts back Nov. 23, he shortened up three-eighths of a mile when a close fourth here in the 1 1/8-mile turf San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 5. With Drayden Van Dyke back in the irons, Chicago Style will be looking for his seventh win from 13 career starts.  

BEACH VIEW  

Owner: Levy Racing                                                                         
Trainer: Leonard Powell  

Although he’s proven he can be attentive to the pace, this 6-year-old Maryland-bred horse by Giant’s Causeway has run from off the pace in his last two starts, most recently finishing an even fourth on dirt in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes on Dec. 26. Third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Chicago Style in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar two starts back, Beach View will hope to get the right trip on Saturday.  

SAN MARCOS STAKES
Race 9 of 11 (approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT)

1. Unapologetic—Geovanni Franco—120
2. Roman Rosso—Evin Roman—120
3. Chicago Style—Drayden Van Dyke—124
4. Epical—Tyler Baze—120
5. Platinum Warrior—Shane Foley—122
6. Sejo—Flavien Prat--120
7. Dabster—Joe Talamo—120
8. Beach View—Rafael Bejarano—122
9. Lucky Soul—Heriberto Figueroa—120
10. Flamboyant—Brice Blanc—120
11. India Mantuana—Joel Rosario—117
12. Ya Gotta Wanna—Aaron Gryder—120
13. Prince of Arabia—Kent Desormeaux--120

 

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