Upset by 11-1 British import Slim Shadey in last month’s Grade II San Marcos Stakes, Bourbon Bay will seek redemption among six entrants in the 61st running of the San Luis Rey Stakes, an event he won as the odds-on favorite in 2010.
A winner of 5 of 7 lifetime starts over the Santa Anita grass for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, David and Jill Heerensperger’s Bourbon Bay came up 1 ½ lengths short when fourth in the San Marcos at 1 ¼ miles on Feb. 11. The 6-year-old gelding’s only other miss over the course was by a nose.
Joel Rosario will be in the saddle as the son of Sligo Bay attempts to regain the form that carried him to three Grade II turf marathon wins at the track in 2010 and a victory in the 2011 San Marcos. His overall record of 7-5-4 in 24 races has earned $788,536 with $427,800 achieved over the Santa Anita course.
Slim Shadey, who took this season’s San Marcos under a front-running ride by David Flores, is a 4-year-old gelding who has blossomed under the care of trainer Simon Callaghan. The son of Val Royal, owned and bred in England by Phil Cunningham, accomplished little in Great Britain. He won one of 13 starts, and that was a nose victory when breaking his maiden in a sprint.
After finishing up the track when making his U.S. debut in an allowance race going one mile on turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 2, Slim Shadey rallied to win at 13-1 odds when stretched out to 1 ¼ miles 10 days later. Callaghan thinks the marathon distance of the San Luis Rey is within his grasp.
“He’s a very relaxed horse,” said the 29-year-old trainer, who is from England. “You can pretty much ride him any way, so I think he should get this extra distance. If he does, I think he’s going to be a really interesting horse.”
“I believe this horse is getting better with every race,” said Flores, who added: “I really love to ride for people like Simon Callaghan because he’s a nice guy and very humble. The older guys are going, so I hope we get more guys like him around here.” In his three U.S. races, Slim Shadey has earned $125,000 after netting $86,888 in his 13 United Kingdom starts. As the 123-pound high weight, he will be giving five pounds to each of his five rivals.
Chilean-bred Porfido, who has won his only two starts this year after reaching the age of 10, will attempt to become the oldest graded stakes winner in Santa Anita history in the San Luis Rey. It’s a tall order for the bay horse presently trained by Eoin Harty for Pete Fer and James Yanez. Porfido’s last stakes victory was in 2006 in his native Chile. He hasn’t won a stakes event in the United States in 38 races.
Nonetheless, Porfido, who raced for four years under the care of the legendary Bobby Frankel, is a competitor. He was beaten by less than a length when second to Boule d’Or in the 2008 San Luis Rey. He’s competed in 16 Grade I or Grade II stakes in this country while seldom seeming like he didn’t belong. The old-timer brings earnings of $661,218 into his historic bid with Corey Nakatani on his back. Porfido’s career record is 12-6-11 in 51 starts.
Utopian, a 5-year-old son of Rock Hard Ten, will be making his first start beyond 1 ¼ miles after re-rallying to finish a head behind Slim Shadey when second in the San Marcos at odds of 13-1. Mike Smith will be back aboard the lightly-raced Kentucky-bred trained by John Shirreffs for Jerry and Ann Moss. A non-stakes winner, Utopian has posted a 2-2-0 record in nine starts for earnings of $114,180.
The field includes 6-year-old Hog’s Hollow, who is also seeking his first stakes victory and trying the extended distance for the first time. Trained by Paddy Gallagher for Derrick Fisher, Hog’s Hollow is coming off a 3 ¾-length allowance race victory at 1 ¼ miles on turf. He has won at 1 3/8 miles. Garrett Gomez, recovered from a broken heel, will handle the Perfect Soul gelding who has earned $166,050 from a 3-4-3 record in 21 races.
The complete field for the San Luis Rey Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Hog’s Hollow, Garrett Gomez, 118; Utopian, Mike Smith, 118; Porfido, Corey Nakatani, 118; Highway Bandit, Joseph Talamo, 118; Bourbon Bay, Joel Rosario, 118, and Slim Shadey, David Flores, 123.
In the Santa Ana, the connections of Cambina will be hoping that the added distance of one-eighth mile will benefit their 4-year-old filly. She came up 1 ¼ lengths short when a fast-closing fifth behind City to City at odds of 7-2 in the Buena Vista. Others in the field could also cite scenarios beneficial to their respective chances.
British-import Strawberrydaiquiri, bet down to 3-1, gained the lead in midstretch of the Buena Vista before fading to fourth, one length behind City to City. The 6-year-old gray mare, Group I placed in Great Britain, hadn’t been out since October and stands to benefit from the experience.
Then there is Chilean-bred Vamo a Galupiar, who was the 3-1 favorite in the Buena Vista. She finished swiftly to wind up fifth, one-half length off Cambina and 1 ¾ lengths behind City to City in the blanket finish. But she finished 1 ¼ lengths in back of third-place Wild Mia, who went off at 10-1
Bauble Queen, a lightly-raced 4-year-old daughter of Arch, has been freshened since capturing the Grade II Robert J. Frankel Stakes on New Year’s Day at odds of 3-1 and again will be well-supported.
Camelia Rose, a French-import, lost by a nose in an allowance race as the even-money favorite at nine furlongs in her U.S. debut, her first start in seven months. “She ran really well first time out,” said Callaghan, who trains her. “She was the best filly in the race, but just got trapped on the rail.”
City to City, with Nakatani back aboard, is the Santa Ana’s most accomplished contestant with earnings of $503,491 from a 7-5-5 record in 24 starts for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns the 5-year-old City Zip mare with William DeBurgh. A winner of three Grade II stakes, she seldom runs a non-contending race. City to City will share high weight of 123 pounds with Bauble Queen.
Cambina will be ridden rejoined by the comebacking Gomez. Trained by Jeff Bonde for a partnership, Cambina has won 6 of 16 starts while earning $393,426. The dead-heat winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade I American Oaks last year, she is 3-for-6 over Santa Anita’s Camino Real Turf Course.
Strawberrydaiquiri competed in England, the United Arab Emirates and in Canada before making her U.S. debut in the Buena Vista. Trained by Ben Cecil for Fawzi A. Nass, the daughter of Dansili shows earnings of $439,676 from a 6-2-1 record in 17 outings. Mario Gutierrez has gained the mount.
Neil Drysdale trains Vamo a Galupiar for Robert B. Evans. A Group I winner in Chile, the 5-year-old mare is lightly raced with a 4-1-0 record in seven starts worth $100,512. Her three races in this country include a 3 ¾-length win in Santa Anita’s Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 21. Smith will be aboard.
Joe Talamo takes over on Class Racing Stable’s Bauble Queen, who was ridden by Gomez in her Frankel Stakes victory. Her record is 3-2-2 for earnings of $218,257 in eight starts for trainer Eric Kruljac.
Callaghan, who trains Camelia Rose for J. Paul Reddam, has reengaged Joel Rosario to ride the Oratorio filly whose overall record in nine starts is 2-3-0 for earnings of $102,948.
At the age of 5, Wild Mia will be aiming for her first graded stakes victory with regular rider David Flores in the saddle. Conditioned by Jerry Fanning and owned by Rosemont Stud Syndicate, Wild Mia sports a 4-7-1 record in 17 career starts. She has earned $289,212.
The complete field for the Santa Ana Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Vamo a Galupiar, Smith, 118; Cambina, Gomez, 120; Hard to Resist, Chantal Sutherland, 118; Strawberrydaiquiri, Mario Gutierrez, 118; Imperialistic Diva, Brice Blanc, 118; Camelia Rose, Rosario, 118; Wild Mia, David Flores, 118; Hard Seven, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Bauble Queen, Talamo, 123; Andina, Victor Espinoza, 118, and City to City, Nakatani, 123.
The San Luis Rey will be contested as the fourth race on a nine-race program with the Santa Ana Stakes going as the seventh. First post is at 12:30 p.m.