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Submitted by Jerry Antonucci on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM


Jeranimo, An 8-year-old warrior who banked $293,964 in 2013, heads a field of 11 older horses in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf—a race the son of Congaree has won twice, in 2010 and in 2013.

Trained by Mike Pender and owned by B.J. Wright and Robert LaPenta, Jeranimo closed much ground when seventh, beaten 3 ½ lengths, in his most recent start, the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside course on Nov. 2.

His most recent win came four starts back, in the Grade I Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar July 20, when ridden by Rafael Bejarano, with whom he will be reunited for the first time since on Saturday.

A full horse, Jeranimo has displayed varying running styles in the San Gabriel over the years, rallying from mid-pack to win in 2010, pressing the pace while running second in 2012, and rallying from far back to win last year.

With two wins from seven starts last year, Jeranimo now has a lifetime record of 38-10-6-5, with earnings of $1,401,364.

English-bred Slim Shadey, a 6-year-old gelding, also figures prominently in Saturday’s San Gabriel. Winless in his past five starts, including a front-running attempt in his most recent, the Grade II, 1 ¼ miles John Henry Turf Championship on Sept. 29, Slim Shadey’s last win came in gate to wire fashion in last year’s Grade II, 1 ¼ miles turf San Marcos Stakes on Feb. 9—his lone win from seven starts in 2013.

Trained by Simon Callaghan, Slim Shadey, by Val Royal, is owned by his breeder Phil Cunningham. “Slim” will be ridden for the first time by Corey Nakatani on Saturday and has five wins and four seconds from 31 starts. He has $623,064 in earnings.

Trainer Mark Tsagalakis’ lightly raced Dubai You X Y Z comes off a sharp allowance score going one mile on turf at Hollywood Park Dec. 6, and while he’s never won a stakes race, he won his only other career try at a mile and one eighth on turf (March 10, 2011) and appears to be in top form at age seven.

Owned by M T Racing Stable, LLC, Dubai You X Y Z is figures to press the pace under regular rider Brice Blanc. A gem of consistency, the son of E Dubai has six wins, two seconds and one third from 10 starts. He was sixth, beaten three lengths by Jeranimo, in his only other graded stakes attempt, the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on June 30, 2012.

Although winless from eight tries in graded company, Fire With Fire appears to be a solid fit. A 6-year-old gelding by Distorted Humor, he comes off a third place finish in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Berkeley Handicap on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields Nov. 29.

Owned by David Heerensperger, Fire With Fire comes off a productive 2013, going 10-2-3-2, with earnings of $165,200. Overall, he’s 27-4-7-5, with earnings of $347,644.

Utopian, a 7-year-old horse by Rock Hard Ten, started only once last year, but has plenty of back class. A winner of the Grade III, 1 1/8 miles turf Inglewood Handicap on April 27, 2012, the John Shirreffs trainee was a close second, beaten a head by Slim Shadey, in that year’s Grade II Marcos Stakes Feb. 11.

Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss, Utopian has a win and a second at a mile and one eighth on turf. He’s 13-3-2-1 overall, with earnings of $213,430.

Irish-bred Willconker, yet another 7-year-old (gelding), comes off a rousing 4 ½ length $40,000 claiming win going 1 1/8 miles on turf Dec. 6, and could be dangerous right back.

The complete field for the San Gabriel Stakes, to be run as Saturday’s eighth race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Slim Shadey, Corey Nakatani, 120; Te Rapa, Kayla Stra, 118; Artic North, Joe Talamo, 118; Dubai You X Y Z, Brice Blanc, 118; Fire With Fire, Martin Garcia, 118; Utopian, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 118; Empty Headed, Alonso Quinonez, 118; Black Spirit, Tyler Baze, 118; Jeranimo, Rafael Bejarano, 123; Huntsville, Mike Smith, 118, and Willyconker, Victor Espinoza, 118.


A rousing first-out maiden special weight winner going 6 ½ furlongs Dec. 8, the Bob Baffert-trained Crushed Velvet drew outside in Saturday’s four-horse, Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs and figures to be tough to beat in her second start.

Owned by Peachtree Stable, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Malibu Moon has had two works since her maiden score, a half mile in 48.20 on Dec. 18, and six furlongs in 1:13.80 on Dec. 29. She’ll be ridden back by Martin Garcia.

Baffert will also send out Awesome Baby, a first-out maiden special weight winner going 5 ½ furlongs at Del Mar Aug. 4, who was distanced in her most recent, the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Chandelier Stakes on Sept. 28. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., the Santa Ynez will be her fourth start.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Taste Like Candy ran lights-out in her debut, a 6 ½ length maiden special weight score Oct. 20 going 5 ½ furlongs. She stretched out to run a solid second in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 7 and will again be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

Owned by Bad Boy Racing, LLC and Whizway Farms, the Kentucky-bred by Candy Ride has drilled three times since the Starlet, her most recent a five furlong drill at Santa Anita in 1:00.80 on Dec. 28.

The complete field for the Santa Ynez, to be run as the second race on Saturday, with all horses assigned 119 pounds in post position order: Taste Like Candy, Rafael Bejarano; Uzziel, Victor Espinoza; Awesome Baby, Mike Smith and Crushed Velvet, Martin Garcia.


Saturday’s $75,000 Midnight Lute Stakes, for older horses at six furlongs, attracted a wide-open field of five, headed by California-bred Cyclometer, who comes off a second place finish in the $100,000 On Trust Handicap going 7 ½ furlongs Nov. 24 as the 8-5 favorite.

With a win and three seconds from four tries at the distance, 6-year-old Cyclometer would appear better suited shortening up a furlong. An impressive second condition allowance winner going 6 ½ two starts back on Nov. 7, Cyclometer will be ridden for the third time in-a-row by Mike Smith.

Owned and bred in-part by trainer Bruce Headley, Cyclometer has been tough at Santa Anita—winning twice, with three seconds and a third from seven starts here. He is 16-4-5-3 overall with earnings of $270,554.

Moonshine Bay, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, also brings a good recent form to the Midnight Lute. An impressive gate to wire classified allowance going six furlongs at Golden Gate Fields Dec. 8, the 6-year-old gelding drew the rail and will get the services of Gary Stevens.

Owned by Hollendorfer, Marvin Kirsner, Al Morrison an George Todaro, Moonshine Bay will make his first career start at Santa Anita and comes off a big 2013, with five wins, three seconds and two thirds from 11 starts. He is 35-15-8-6 overall, with earnings of $276,167.

Color of Courage, who resurfaced following a 28-month absence to run second, beaten 2 ½ lengths in the Grade III Vernon O. Underwood Stakes at six furlongs Nov. 28, could be dangerous with a race under his belt.

A 7-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Came Home, he his trained by Jorge Gutierrez and is owned by his breeders, John and Cheryl Toffan. He has had three works since his comeback race and will be ridden back by Joe Talamo. His overall mark stands at 9-4-1-2, with earnings of $162,240.

Midnight Transfer, third in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes as a 3-year-old on April 7, 2012, has been idle since running fifth in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 4 and will get the services of Rafael Bejarano.

Trained by Carla Gaines and owned by Warren B. Williamson, Midnight Transfer has nine works showing on his Santa Anita work tab, the most recent a half mile in 47 flat, breezing, on Dec. 30.

Trainer Jeff Bonde will send out the speedy Anillo, had the lead through splits of 21.80 and 44.20 in the Grade III Vernon O. Underwood Nov. 28 before tiring to finish fourth, beaten eight lengths.

The complete field for the Midnight Lute Stakes, to be run as Saturday’s third race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Moonshine Bay, Gary Stevens, 120; Midnight Transfer, Rafael Bejarano, 123; Color of Courage, Joe Talamo, 120; Anillo, Edwin Maldonado, 123, and Cyclometer, Mike Smith, 120.

First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. 

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