San Juan Capistrano Stakes (Grade 3)- $150.000 Purse
SA- For Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
June 28, 2015
The San Juan Capistrano Stakes provides a nice opportunity for some of the games better long distance turf runners, though maybe not necessarily the elite ones, to get a chance to shine. For the first time, the race runs as a Grade 3 event, but this is because it has been downgraded from a Grade 2, which is where it stood the previous eleven years. The purse value, which was $300.000 when it debuted, and $200.000 last year, has seen a cut back to its 2013 level of $150.000. The smaller purse has likely kept the Dogma’s of the current day away, and with the early scratch of Bald and Beautiful, we don’t have a single BC Turf runner from 2014 in this field. We will still have a quality field, and it will be highlighted by Turandot’s effort to repeat as the winner, and do something only the great Dogma has done, and win it twice and in back to back years. A Solis is the most successful jockey in this stake, having won it three times, with Dogma twice and also with Photo Phinnish in 2005. He will be at SA Sunday, but does not have a mount for the race. Let’s meet the jockeys who do have mounts, and the horses in which they will be riding for twelve furlongs!
#1- Nitro Chip (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E Maldonado)- Purchased in December from Alegria for $70.000, Nitro Chip has won one of his four races while with Nakamura Stables, coming in an optional claimer at PRX. Perhaps more impressive then that though was his third place finish in the G2 Dixie last month, missing by a length. In watching that race, he seemed to have more closing kick in the stretch then even the winner, and with a little more racing luck, he may have won that race. Here he gets more distance, and no Seven Years or Silver Bullet to worry about. If he runs as he did last month and carry that for the longer distance needed in this race, then he will be a force here. The last time he ran this distance, he was not good though, but there was probably more going against him there then just the distance and I disregard it.
#2- Jeremy (Captainj, ridden by J Talamo)- The four year old gelding by Poet Laureate will be hoping that his thirteenth career start will be the lucky one to get him a graded stake win. While Captainj has given Jeremy several opportunities to get a win in this type of race, that faith has still not been rewarded. The key race to look at here is the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in August of last year, where he placed fourth at a mile and a quarter in a race won by the great Ashkalani. That performance earned him a career high 101 SRF, and it is something that absolutely must be duplicated here, or else he may come up a little short. He looks to be an inconsistent type, and I usually shy away from picking them.
#3- Pure Violence (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- One of three coming out of the Louisville Handicap at CD last month, Pure Violence was the best finisher of that threesome, placing second. That race is also at a mile and a half, and in that, the five year old by Pure Steel earned a career high SRF of 100. In his 21 career starts, he has attempted a few graded events, but has yet to win one, thus giving him no bragging rights when surrounded by his stablemates in the barn. However, Sunday may very well be his day to shine, and you wonder if the scratch of Bald And Beautiful should be interpreted as a higher level of confidence that Mb Stables has with this one. He carries six more pounds in this race, and the three pound advantage that he had on Bold Pretender is no longer in play, so that is something to think about here, when choosing between the two.
#4- Bold Pretender (RNP Stables, ridden by K Desormeaux)- The pride of RNP Stables, Bold Pretender has now won just over $2,300.00 in his career, which is still going strong after 61 career races. Most recently, he was in that Louisville Handicap last month, and he placed fourth by a length. In that though, make note of the fact that he gained three and a half lengths on Pure Violence in the final half mile while carrying three more pounds then him. In that race, Bold Pretender looked to come from behind, but we have seen him be successful at this distance in doing that as well as getting right up there on the lead, which is what he did in the mile and a half Pan American in March in finishing second. He’s been in a little slump lately, but I like him to break out of that and get a win here.
#5- Turandot (Paradise Stable, ridden by V Espinoza)- Hope you’re not superstitious. The game lists this as a stake ID #666. Turnadot has $666.110 in career earnings. He’s out of a mare named after Fire. Hey, it had to be mentioned. He was certainly not cursed in this stake last year, winning the 2014 edition by stalking the lead and putting forth an outstanding stretch performance. Since then, he was one win in seven starts, and no better then fourth in any of the non-wins. The victory was his only non graded attempt of that stretch. His performance against Pure Violence and Bold Pretender in the Louisville Handicap was not that great, but he shown the ability to be a lot better. He can be in the mix, but I feel he will have a tough time with the top two.