San Vicente Stakes (Grade 2)- $200.000 Purse
SA- For Three Year Olds
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
February 10, 2018
A field of eight heads to SA this Saturday for the 15th running of the San Vicente Stakes, which is at the interesting distance of seven furlongs for three year olds. Are they sprinters? Can they be going longer, but don’t want to try so much so soon? The San Vicente, as a long sprint is an in-between race to see who should stay sprinting, at least for this time of year, and who may be able to make a TC run. The horse that finished 3rd in this race last year was a good example. Good ol’ Slither, owned by yours truly was placed in this race and ran well, and it did give me the confidence that I could run him longer. Though it would also become the last stake I would ever run due to reasons not needed to get into here. Slither then ran second in the SA Derby, and made it to the KYD. The winner of that race, Flightwing Commander, struggled after the win. A few in this field have tried going longer, but did not fare all that well, so the respective trainers hope to settle in to this distance. It makes for several different career paths colliding, and we’ll see how it all pans out. Here’s the field!
#1- Denomination (Fractious, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Lightly raced colt has won two out of three so far in his career, but has never raced more then five and a half furlongs. Speed figures have improved, so a good run here or even win, could lead to optimism that he can make some noise in an even longer prep race next month. Though his work times make me a little uncertain about going longer, I do like how he finished his last race, so this race is pivotal for his early career.
#2- Fast Kruz (Brave, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- When I was talking about different career paths colliding here, I didn’t cover Fast Kruz’s scenario, which is going from the grass to the turf. He has a lot of success running longer on the green, and was able to participate in the BC Juvenile Turf. Knowing the main track is where the money is, Brave moved him to the dirt for the Sham Stakes, and he finished in the middle of the field. Here, he can see how he measures up and to determine if that was just due to the level of competition, or due to the surface.
#3- Jerry Bien (Gdp Inc, ridden by E A Roman)- At first when I looked at this one, I thought he might be one that might be here specifically for the seven furlong distance, but then I caught that TC nomination. So, the goal is higher here, too. With four wins in five career starts, Jerry Bien has done everything right. One of those wins is a stake, coming in the $50.000 Golden Nugget up at GG. There’s a lot to like, and as long as doesn’t completely bust here (which I highly doubt he would), we should see him in a KYD prep next month.
#4- Gronk (Mb Stables, ridden by M E Smith)- This gelding already made his TC appearance, coming in the Jerome, but he could not hang on in the end, much like a football player not hauling in a last second hail mary. After leading much of the way, Gronk struggled late in the Jerome, but other races show him starting near the back and coming on strong in the end. Maybe that’s just how a horse with this name is meant to be winning. Regardless, he should be a contender here.
#5- Sweeping Panther (Drabfantasy, ridden by D Van Dyke)- This colt has raced three times, but has never run more then four and a half furlongs. He also has not raced since before Halloween, so he has a couple things going against him. It looks like he has benefitted from the time off, and he put in a nice work at AQU earlier this month. His conformation suggests he might like the distance, so that should be fine. This is still a pretty tough assignment.
#6- All Systems Go (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by E R DaSilva)- Purchased in private sales in August for $50.000, this Systematic colt has run at least a mile in half of his career starts, giving me the feeling that he’s here for this race and distance specifically, and not as a test to see how me may fare longer, since he has that experience. He’s won twice, with the highlight being the $100.000 Notebook, which is a pretty tough race every year for NY-breds. Didn’t fare well in the Lecomte, so he’s going to look to rebound here, and he should like this exact distance. I think he’s gonna surprise here, and maybe as a longshot.
#7- I Need A Nap (Mcl Stables, ridden by R Maragh)- A winner of two out of six starts early in his career, and has been in the money four times. He’s been at his best, however, when running six furlongs, and his seven furlong effort at the Grade 3 Hope Stakes saw a third place finish that looks like more of a “best of the rest” type line, then one that was a strong performance. After that, the Sham Stakes did not go well. Here, with some time to hopefully grow and mature, he tries seven again and hopefully won’t want to fall asleep too soon.
#8- Flying Squirrel (Angelos Stable, ridden by G Franco)- This squirrel knows how to find her way to the winners circle, with four wins in her seven career starts, and only once has she failed to be part of the exacta. Angelos picked her up from Mb Stables via a $40.000 claim last month, and he would win the $65.000 Times Stakes against three others at SUN. That race was just 13 days prior to this one. By the way, I didn’t mess up those gender pronouns, this is indeed a filly. We’ll see if this one can get it done. More often then not, it doesn’t happen.