As Yogi Berra once famously
noted, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
Such was the case in the 81st
running of the Grade 3, $100,000 San Juan Capistrano Stakes on Saturday at
Santa Anita, where 7-year-old California-bred gelding Acclimate (2-1) skipped
to a 3 3/4-length victory, replicating his gate-to-wire score in the 2019 running of the race.
Trained by Phil D’Amato, who
collected his third consecutive win in Santa Anita’s signature turf marathon,
Acclimate was ridden by Ricky Gonzalez, who coaxed 1 3/4 miles out of the son
of Acclimation in 2:49.74.
With a traditional hillside
start on firm turf, Acclimate went right to the front and had his ears up as he made the dirt
crossing at the top of the lane. With a two-length advantage around the clubhouse
turn, Acclimate was running easily while pursued by Ward ’n Jerry and Pillar
Mountain in the run up the backside.
With three furlongs to run,
Gonzalez stepped on the gas, but eventual runner-up Astronaut was about to make
an eye-catching run of his own around the far turn. Although he loomed into
contention a quarter-mile out, Astronaut was unable to sustain his bid and
Acclimate made it look easy as he widened his margin late.
“Just get him in front, nice
and comfortable is where he likes to be,” said Gonzalez, who had ridden him to
a close second-place finish going 1 1/4 miles on the turf in the Charles
Whittingham Stakes (G2) on May 29. “Just
keep the other horses away from him, and he’s as happy as he could be. I was
Off as the favorite in a field
of six 3-year-olds and up, Acclimate paid $6.00, $3.80 and $2.60.
Bred by Old English Rancho and
Sal and Patsy Berumen, Acclimate is out of the Boundary mare Knows No Bounds, is
owned by the Ellwood Johnston Family Trust, Timmy Time Racing and Ken Tevelde.
He had been winless since winning the Del Mar Handicap (G2) nine starts back on
Aug. 17, 2019.
With his third graded stakes
win in-hand, Acclimate is 25: 7-4-4. With the winner’s share of $60,000, he increased
his earnings to $557,872.
With Victor Espinoza up,
Astronaut (8-1) finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of 2020 San Juan winner Red
King (2-1), who finished third.
Fractions for the race were
48.19, 1:11.56, 1:35.48 and 2:00.30.
Melair Stakes. Unexpectedly last early, Terry Lovingier’s homebred Fi Fi Pharoah
(2-1) battled through the lane with Eddie’s New Dream to win by a half-length
as the favorite in the Melair.
Trained by Walther Solis and
ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Fi Fi Pharoah, a 3-year-old daughter of 2015 Triple
Crown winner American Pharoah, got 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.41.
Breaking from the post 3, Fi Fi
Pharoah found herself last in a field of eight, about 10 lengths off of dueling
leaders Mucha Woman and Omg It’s Jessica around the clubhouse turn.
Next to last by a similar
margin and on the move with three furlongs to run, Fi Fi Pharoah wheeled
four-deep turning for home as a hot, early pace took its toll on the frontrunners.
With Eddie’s New Dream and
Mario Gutierrez taking the lead at the top of the lane, Fi Fi Pharoah joined
the battled with a furlong to run and prevailed in a game effort.
Eddie’s New Dream (7-2) finished
second, 2 1/2 lengths clear of I’m So Anna (5-2), who settled for third.
Snow Chief Stakes. Attentive to the pace throughout, longshot Jimmy Blue Jeans (15-1)
was all heart late as he held off heavily favored None Above the Law (1-1) by a
neck in Saturday’s Snow Chief Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trained by Golden Gate
Fields-based Andy Mathis, Jimmy Blue Jeans got the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.69. He
was ridden by Kent Desormeaux, who notched his 147th career stakes win at
Jimmy Blue Jeans came off an allowance win at one mile on turf at
Golden Gate on May 16 and returned $33.40, $10.60, and $6.80 for the win
against eight other California-bred or sired 3-year-olds.
A 3-year-old gelding by James
Street out of the Marino Marini mare Blue Blizzard, Jimmy Blue Jeans is owned
by his owner-breeders Perry Bruno and John Gezon.
Ferrariano (12-1), ridden by
Abel Cedillo, finished a nose behind None Above the Law in third.
Siren Lure Stakes. With a new lease on life at age 4, the Richard
Mandella-trained Kanderel (4-1) rallied from last to take the Siren Lure Stakes,
his second win in a row over the course at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Kanderel got 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in
1:14.98. Breaking from the rail, Kanderel was about six lengths off
dueling leaders Texas Wedge and Tilted Towers heading to the far turn and had
nearly five lengths to make up while racing wide with a furlong to run.
A 4-year-old gelding by Candy Ride, out of the Storm Cat mare Stormica,
Kanderel is owned by his breeders, the Wertheimer brothers. With the Siren Lure
being his second stakes victory, Kanderel is 13: 4-1-0, adding a winner’s share
of $48,360 to increased his earnings to $195,982.
Ridden by Joe Bravo in his first full-time
weekend in California, French-bred Commander (5-1) ran a game second, finishing
a neck in front of favored Chasin Munny (6-5), who settled for third.