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Breeders' Cup 2017

Pender Picks Spots for Jeranimo, Ultimate Eagle

Mike Pender has designs on a repeat win in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 16 for versatile campaigner Jeranimo, who won last year’s San Gabriel on grass and the Grade II Strub Stakes on synthetic.


The son of Congaree trained by Mike Pender for owner B.J. Wright won the Grade II Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in his most recent start three weeks ago. Prior to that, he was seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 5. “Jeranimo came out of his last race like he does every other time, which is perfect,” Pender said, alluding to the Citation. “He’s like the little Energizer bunny. He’s stepping forward with eyes on a repeat in the San Gabriel.”


Another versatile Pender stakes winner, Ultimate Eagle, is scheduled to go from turf to dirt in his next start. A son of Mizzen Mast also owned by Wright, Ultimate Eagle won the Grade II Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita last October and the Grade I Hollywood Derby last out, both on grass.


“Ultimate Eagle is pointing for the (Grade II) San Fernando (Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on dirt on Jan. 14),” Pender said. “He’ll run on the dirt, which is a surface he seems to like more than the grass. He’s four for seven lifetime. His three losses came on Hollywood’s synthetic. Had we been running him on dirt, he’d be undefeated. That’s how good he’s been.”


Pender has made the most of his limited chances in his relatively brief career. “I have about 20 head here for this meet,” he said, “and I don’t want any more. “The ones I have are quality horses. Mr. Wright owns about 25 percent of them, about a quarter of the barn. The rest are for a variety of different owners.


“I’ve only been training for five years and until recently, haven’t had that many shots to run in stakes. For three years I was just a claiming trainer. The last two years we’ve had a couple nice horses and we’ve made the most of the opportunities.”

 

 

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Older Comments about Pender Picks Spots for Jeranimo, Ultimate Eagle...

If that's the case, then he's definitely my pick. No offense to Comma to the Top, but Ultimate Eagle is on a roll.
Looks like a change of plans for Ultimate Eagle he's entered in the Sir Beaufort Stakes
I'm interested to see if Ultimate Eagle will do as well on dirt as Pender believes that he will. Generally I operate on the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" premise, but this could be the exception. Pender seems fairly confident about this.

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