Jeranimo squares off with a number of turf performers well-known to Southern California racing followers, such as two-time San Marcos winner Slim Shadey, Vagabond Shoes, Utopian, and Lucayan. The 1 ¼-mile San Marcos is one of three graded stakes on Saturday program at Santa Anita but shapes up as the best betting proposition. It is the seventh on the program with a 3:30 p.m. PST scheduled post.
Rejuvenated 8-year-old Jeranimo became the first three-time winner of the San Gabriel when he shot through the stretch from last to score a 1 ¼-length triumph over Slim Shadey in the 1 ⅛-mile test Jan. 4. The bay horse by Congaree will be testing his distance limit this time, however, with Rafael Bejarano at the controls from post 6 while toting co-high weight of 123 pounds.
After five consecutive unplaced finishes, Slim Shadey appeared to be on the downside of his career heading into the San Gabriel.
Owned by B.J. Wright and Robert LaPenta and trained by Mike Pender, Jeranimo has 11 wins and 11 placings in 39 lifetime starts with earnings of more than $1.5 million. He has four wins from 11 starts on the Santa Anita turf course.
After five consecutive unplaced finishes, Slim Shadey appeared to be on the downside of his career heading into the San Gabriel. But he showed his former resilience while setting the pace and opened a two-length advantage mid-stretch before being caught late.
Corey Nakatani, who rode the 6-year-old British-bred for the first time that day, has the return call for trainer Simon Callaghan on Slim Shadey, who won the San Marcos in each of the past two years -- both times in frontrunning fashion. They break from the rail with 120 pounds.
Vagabond Shoes, from the John Sadler barn for Hronis Racing, scratched out of the one-mile Arcadia Feb. 1 to return in this spot, which would be his first start since a good fifth-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Winner of the Del Mar Handicap in August, he was second in the John Henry Turf Championship at the San Marcos distance prior to the 1 ½-mile BC Turf.
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss' Utopian comes off a fourth in the San Gabriel, just his second start since June 2012 for trainer John Shirreffs.
French-bred Lucayan won the 1 ½-mile Hollywood Turf Cup in his most recent start Dec. 14 for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale. Pandora Stud's 5-year-old son of Turtle Bowl ran third behind Indy Point and Vagabond Shoes in the John Henry, his most recent race at Santa Anita. Mike Smith is aboard the bay for the first time.
The San Marcos also attracted Niall Racing's Temeraine, who was second, half a length behind Lucayan, as the 7-5 favorite in the Hollywood Turf Cup. Gary Stevens retains the mount for trainer Tom Proctor.
Wertheimer and Frere's Segway, third in the Hollywood Turf Cup in his stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, and Dubai You X Y Z, a six-time winner from 10 starts seeking his first stakes win for trainer Mark Tsagalakis, could also be dangerous.
Mandella also entered Power Foot, an allowance winner at the 1 ¼-mile distance over the course Jan. 9, while Artic North looks to improve on his third last time in the San Gabriel for trainer Peter Miller.