San Marcos Stakes – Grade II
SA Race #9 1 1/4m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $200.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.
1 Moon Prince, trained by Asgar
This horse is a tough old customer but i can’t help thinking that he has spent his time largely under achieving. Way back in 2015 he was winning a black type on his sixth start but since then apart from the odd dabble in black type he has been kept at a lower grade winning at a decent rate. He is capable but this is a good field and he may just find a couple are too good.
2 Bring The Pain, trained by Mb Stables
A winner of four from seven he ran a cracker in only his fifth start when a strong finishing second in the Hirsch Turf Classic but then failed miserably in the Pacific Classic. That terrible effort can be put down to the soft ground and he returned to his best in a hot Allowance last time out suggesting he has a hatred of rain rather than being a flash in the pan. The trainer knows how to win these races and this very lightly raced four year old has a touch of class about him.
3 Major Wiener, trained by Night Rider Stables
This horse ran 12 races on the dirt winning two them but a switch to turf in September last year brought about a transition almost as amazing as that of a caterpillar to a butterfly. He first took the Super Derby and then overcame a terrible draw in the mud of the Pacific Classic to claim a grade one win against some top turf routers. His last start came in the BC Turf where he ran well enough in eighth to suggest he wasnt just a wet tracker. Its still hard to place him in this field but he is very close to being the best in the race and he could easily win this.
4 Max Million, trained by Maxmillion Farm
This one was just wobbling along running nice races when he exploded on the scene after a lightning work and a win in the Breeders Stakes. After that he went on to be second in the Northern Dancer before failing in the wet of the Pacific Classic. Like Bring The Pain he proved that poor run was just down to the wet ground when he was a very close second in the HOL Turf Cup and just like that same horse we must assume that faster ground today will put him very close.
5 Darth Andredudu, trained by Diablo Diablo
considering this ones record it is hard to see how he has only won two races. He was a very strong finishing third in the BEL Derby and a fairly close seventh in the Arlington Million but whilst they were both decent efforts i find it hard to see him taking these big scalps today.
6 My Plucky, trained by Hambletonian Stables
The winner of ten from twenty four he is an under rated sort who has been a genuine servant to his owner. He took a while to move from a cheap maiden claimer to a grade three placer but when he did Hambletonian Stable was quick to buy him at auction for sixty dollars. After that purchase he won four in a row ending in The Henry Championship which put him firmly in the realms of top turf routers. He took a strange route after that win running fourth in a sprint and then finishing eighth over three quarters of a mile further. Despite his rather strange form lines he is a capable turf horse and should run a solid race.
7 Gallivant, trained by Nakamura Stables
When this five year old won the PEN Mile as a three year old i had him tagged as a potential superstar but he has since hovered close to greatness without really grabbing it by the neck. He finished second in the grade one Secretariat and second in the grade one Pacific Classic but didnt win a race again until December 2017, 18 months after that win in the PEN Mile. The Tropical Turf Handicap saw him drawn very wide and it looked like he didnt have a chance of breaking his losing streak but he broke fast and made all to win by a very game neck in a very nice winning time. I still have a soft spot for this one and if he can repeat his best form he will go close to winning but he is s hit and miss it is hard to back him with confidence.
8 Limato, trained by Chili King Stables
Another that has been knocking on the door but has yet to win at graded stakes level. He was flying at the end of the Fort lauderdale last time suggesting this trip will suit him and he has the edge on fitness but he comes up against a few good ones today and may find it a bit tough. An each way chance at big odds.
9 Dogs Dragon, trained by LionKing Stables
This six year old had a stunted season last year with only five races but managed to win the grade one Man O War and was flying at the finish of the Metropolitan in being beaten just a length in fifth. Sold after a poor effort in the Kentucky Cup Turf the question will be whether he has come to the end of his best days. The draw and the break between races are against him but he has the ability to surprise if he is on his best behaviour.
10 Sabre For Kathology, trained by Oval Expess Farms
This lightly raced sort was going along nicely last year when he won the Wise Dan and finished a good third in the Read Stakes. Those two efforts prompted his trainer to take on the big boys in the Hirsch Turf Classic but he ran a stinker to be last beaten 18 lengths. That run was too bad to be true but he hasnt impressed in his two starts since and the wide gate will make it difficult for him to get back to his best.
This isnt a bad much of turfers that have been close to the top of their divisions. Major Wiener has a big reputation and may well win but the likes of Bring The Pain, Max Million and Gallivant will make him work for the win.