San Pasqual Stakes (Grade 2)- $200.000 Purse
SA- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
February 1, 2020
A good field consisting of several well known names throughout the game will be going to post for the 16th running of the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes. Whenever Beach Dandy shows up to a race, he will always be the headliner and this will be the first race of the gelding’s four year old season. Duke Or Earl, Champion In Action and Combat Wombat are some of the other known commodities that we will be seeing here, so this should be an exciting race as they meet others who would love to become just as familiar of a name. The race was won by Fox News last year, and it was a last hurrah for him. He never won again, and never actually hit the board ever again and has now gone to stud. Let’s take a look of our field of eleven!
#1- Sniper (Jediminds Stable, ridden by J Pimentel)- On the rail, Sniper looks to win for just the second time in his career, and it will be his 13th start. In the middle of 2019, he went on a streak of second place finishes, but he has not really done anything lately that gets me excited that he can beat the caliber of horses that he sees here. Work times are great, but others can say that too. Never rule out the horse on the rail in our game, though.
#2- Beach Dandy (John Henry, ridden by D Van Dyke)- If you are reading this, you know what Beach Dandy has done throughout his career. By the time his three year old season finished, he had amassed over $4,500.000 in career earnings. It’s hard to believe that he still has not won since winning the KYD, especially when many felt, including me, that he had a great chance to win the triple crown. His recent form is nothing to be excited about, and if this was not Beach Dandy, he would be pretty easy to dismiss based on those results. Something has to give, and he must be much better then he was in the San Antonio Stakes the day after Christmas.
#3- Zee Unit (Rampage Stable, ridden by F Prat)- Here’s a good example of a horse that can get it back together after some poor results. After winning the Curlin at beautiful Saratoga Race Course, Zee Unit struggled mightily, but the trainer kept placing him in strong graded races. Eventually, he did drop him into ungraded territory, for the $125.000 Queens County Handicap, and he won the race. If he needed the confidence booster, he just got it, but this will still be a tough assignment.
#4- Shanghai (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- The gelding will be seen in new silks for the first time, though it has simply been a while since we have seen him at all. Nakamura picked him in private sales for $150.000 in late October, but has not brought him back to track until now. His most recent race, saw him place 7th or eight in the NY-bred Hudson. We’ll see what he does now in his long awaited return.
#5- Duke Or Earl (Gdp Inc, ridden by T Pereira)- This six year old has quietly had a good career, and will make the 34th start of his career. 2019 saw him win twice, and hit the board in eight of ten starts. It was a turf race at MTH as the only graded stake he won then. Gdp Inc has been trying to run him in Grade 1’s but Duke Or Earl has not been up to the task. Lately, his best results have been in open allowances, which is fine, but the trainer wants more.
#6- Champion In Action (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Chirinos)- The trainer has been very enthusiastic about this horse in the past, so hopefully that is still the case as he enters his five year old season. Seems like it should be, even though you have to go back to May to find his last win, which was the Grade 1 Gold Cup. After some duds in races like the Pacific Classic, Champion In Action has been resurgent in his last two starts and should have a great shot in this field.
#7- Malibu Moon (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by M E Smith)- Since May, this horse has really come into his own, winning five of seven races and climbing the ladder from allowances to graded stakes in the process. Two starts back, he won the Grade 2 Fayette at KEE, and in his last start, he won the $300.000 Caribbean Classic, defeating Twin Towers in the process. It seems likely that the trainer is earmarking him as one he hopes to have considerable success this year, so this will be a name to watch. In this field, he’s a good pick if you are looking for a top horse that seems to be at the top of this game with possibly even more upside to come.
#8- Combat Wombat (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by Ru Fuentes)- Making just the 13th start of his career, but has already made over $2,700.000 on the track. The Pacific Classic has been a very kind race to him, winning it in 2018 and then finishing second in the same race last year. Maxmillion has been very patient with him over the course of his career, and he does seem overdue in the win column. Last time he won, it was the Grade 2 CT Classic, but again, he is not as heavily raced as others here. I may have picked him to end that dry spell here, but only placing third in an open allowance last month keeps me from putting him on top. Then again, the two that beat him are in this race, too. (Vegas Host and Duke Or Earl).
#9- Vegas Host (Nakamura Stables, ridden by N Arroyo Jr)- It turns out then, that the aforementioned open allowance that he won was much more then that in reality, given he defeated both Duke Or Earl, and Combat Wombat in the process. By the way, both Fear The Dragon and A Storm Has Arrived were in that field. So, forget it, in reality that win was a graded win disguised as an allowance. It also represented a successful switch over from turf to dirt. Looks for his third win in a row here and is a very appealing option.
#10- War Command (Fractious, ridden by J K Court)- After a disappointing performance the day after Christmas in the San Antonio Stakes, former trainer Estero Farms sold him that very day to Fractious for $125.000. That result marked his third straight fifth place finishes, but not of the fifth place variety where he’s still within a length at the end. Fractious liked him, and his works are a huge reason why. Now, it will be up to him to get a horse that has just one win in 14 career starts to the winner’s circle again.
#11- Admiration- Scratched. Now, we can say in advance Mb Stables won’t win this race.
#12- Brady Is A Lady (Sharis Stables, ridden by E Maldonado)- This will be the first time in his fifteen race career that he will be wearing #12 for a race. Is that a good omen or a bad omen? As after all, this horse is a mockery of the quarterback, and not in his honor. He’s been consistent, dare I say, just like someone named Tom, in his career and two races ago won the $300.000 Empire Classic at AQU. Only once in his career, the 2019 BEL, has he not gotten a piece of the purse; a pretty impressive statistic.