Benoit Photo/Santa Anita
Idle since running what many thought was his best career race in the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) here Dec. 26, trainer Dan Hendricks’ Om
and trainer Phil D’Amato’s veteran multiple grade I winning Obviously, head a star-studded field of seven older horses in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Arcadia Stakes at one mile on turf.
One of four recently turned 4-year-olds in the Arcadia lineup, Om, who was a disappointing third as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar two starts back on Nov. 28, rebounded with a resounding win in the Mathis Brothers Mile when hand ridden by Gary Stevens.
Owned by the Sareen Family Trust, Om, the Kentucky-bred colt by Munnings has brilliant natural speed and is at home on the lead or sitting just off the pacesetter. Undefeated in three tries over the Santa Anita turf, he’s unbeaten in two starts at a flat mile on grass as well. With Stevens, who has won three out of four with him, engaged to ride back Saturday, Om appears to be the horse to beat in the Arcadia. With an overall mark of 10-5-1-2, Om has career earnings of $550,500.
One of America’s top turf milers dating back to the summer of 2012, Irish-bred Obviously comes off a huge second, beaten a neck, in Santa Anita’s Grade II, 1 1/8 miles turf San Gabriel Stakes Jan. 2 as the 5-2 favorite. Although he’s getting a bit long in the tooth, the 8-year-old gelding brought his “A” game in the San Gabriel, as he earned a stout 104 Beyer Speed figure and plainly appeared to have been done-in by the extra furlong.
A dedicated front-runner, Obviously will likely get early pressure from Om, who will need to be in close attendance if he is to overall the old warrior. A gate to wire winner of the Grade I Shoemaker Mile (turf) here on June 14, 2014, Obviously has been winless in five subsequent starts and will be handled for the first time by Mike Smith, who takes over from Joe Talamo who had ridden Obviously in his last 19 starts. Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, Obviously has eight wins from 15 tries at a mile on turf and is 25-11-5-3 overhaul with earnings of $1,527,751.
A top Kentucky Derby prospect a year ago, Pam and Martin Wygod’s homebred Prospect Park appears to have found a home on turf, as he was a 4 ¼ length winner of Del Mar’s Grade III, 1 1/16 miles La Jolla Handicap two starts back on Aug. 9, and has been idle since running a well beaten third to Om as the 1-5 favorite in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles turf Del Mar Derby Sept. 6.
Trained by Clifford Sise, Prospect Park, a Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit, has a series of fast drills for his return and appears primed for a big effort in what will be his first start on the local turf. His overall mark stands at 11-3-4-2 and he has earnings of $462,570.
Idle since making the early lead and finishing a distant last as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade I, 1 ¼ miles turf Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes July 4, trainer Carla Gaines’ Bolo also appears fresh and dangerous in the Arcadia. A 4 ½ length winner of the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes here in his third career start on Dec. 27, 2014, the 4-year-old colt by Temple City then tried the nation’s best 3-year-olds on the main track in his next three starts—finishing third in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes March 7, third in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby April 4, and a well beaten 12th in the Kentucky Derby May 2.
Owned by Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc. and Earle I. Mack, LLC, Bolo could likely contribute to a hot early pace scenario as he makes his 4-year-old debut. With three wins (all on turf) from eight starts, he has earnings of $288,700.
The complete field for the Grade II Arcadia Stakes, to be run as the third on a nine-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Om, Gary Stevens, 124; Cape Wolfe, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Yes Yes Yes, Brice Blanc, 120; Big Cazanova, Joe Talamo, 120; Bolo, Flavien Prat, 120; Obviously, Mike Smith, 120, and Prospect Park, Kent Desormeaux, 120.
Source: Santa Anita Park