A 4-year-old, San Pablo has never finished outside the top three in seven starts and began his current winning streak with a 4 ¼-length victory in a one-mile, second-level optional claiming race on the Aqueduct main track November 20. After the switch to the inner track, the Burning Sand Stable color-bearer won a pair of two-turn overnight stakes against three opponents, posting a three-length success in the Flying Chevron on December 18 and a 4 ¾-length score in the Shots Are Ringing on January 14. Both stakes were contested at one mile, 70 yards.
“The horse has done well and has had a remarkable couple of weeks,” said McCarthy. “He worked well in company with [stablemate] Heart Butte [four furlongs in 49.05 on the Belmont Park training track on Sunday]. “It wasn’t the saltiest bunch he ran against last time and he was able to get away with some moderate fractions, but he went fast at the end.”
McCarthy hopes San Pablo’s will carry that that momentum into Saturday’s race.
“He’s won a few back-to-back now, and it shows in his attitude around the barn and in the way he trains,” said McCarthy. “I think that’s one of the perks of staying here for the winter: you don’t meet the heavy heads every time.”
Cornelio Velasquez will ride San Pablo, the 6-5 morning-line second choice, from post position 2.
Marilyn’s Guy, owned by Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables, LLC, will look to go one better after finishing second in Laurel Park’s Harrison E. Johnson Memorial on March 2. Not only will the As Indicated will be his first start in nearly 11 months, it will also be his first for trainer Tony Dutrow, who sent the 6-year-old gelding from Palm Meadows to Aqueduct earlier this month. Marilyn’s Guy turned in a 49.92 four-furlong breeze on the inner track on Monday.
C.C. Lopez has the assignment aboard Marilyn’s Guy, who was made the even-money favorite and drew post 4.
The field also includes Linebacker, who was haltered for $25,000 out of a runner-up effort in a Parx Racing optional claimer on February 7, and Isn’t He Perfect and Day of Destiny, a pair from the barn of Doodnauth Shivmangal.