San Marcos Stakes Could See the King Rise to the Occasion

San Marcos Stakes – Grade II
SA Race #7 1 1/4m Turf Graded Stake
Purse $225.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.

With all the big races on this weekend there are always those decent races like this that come up a little short and light. Not saying there isn’t some quality in this field but if this race was a week ago it would have been far stronger. Here are the hopefuls that will look to take advantage:

1      Darth Invader       Diablo Diablo      Maldonado E

When this one won the AP Classic back in 2020 there was some hope that he would go on and become a top router but alas it wasn’t to be. He has run some decent races since but never lived up to that promise although many just like him have seen their form tail off only to come back as an older horse and find that bit extra. There was lots of promise of just that in his close fifth in the Shadwell Turf Mile last year and he has certainly been working well enough that a two hump improvement curve may be on the cards. Drawn the ace he gets every chance to add to his single graded stakes win.

2      Money Truck         Spankys Barn       Van Dyke D

A real tough and consistent sort he has run in some big races and always makes his presence felt without quite making the headlines. Drawn very nicely he will have every chance to once again get in the action and as a five year old now may find a little kick in improvement that could push him back to the winners enclosure.

3      Xmas Snow        Rock Creek         – Scratch –

It is a shame this one isn’t running because i have always been interested that although he has won over 1.6K in prize money he has never sold for more than fifty bucks despite being through the ring 5 times. At seven he is probably past this sort of race now but he is still a very intriguing runner, that sadly wont be running.

4     Cartoonish         Nakamura Stables      Bravo J

This trainer can find talent where others cannot and though it has taken a while and lots of experimenting the last start win suggested they have found the key. Though the Wright Memorial only had the four runners he could do nothing more than win but i do worry whilst he has the talent does he have the finishing speed at this level. second 8 times from 18 starts has a bit of a bridesmaids look about it so whilst he will probably make the top four he may just find one or two too strong at the end.

5      Buffalo G        Nakamura Stables     Gonzalez Ru

Hugely impressive in making all in a canter in s short field at PRX last time he clearly has some ability but again he needs to up his game to win at this level. Seven wins from 21 starts suggests he may be a bit more determined than his stable mate and i feel he may be the stronger of the two.

6      By The Night O Bay        Oval Express Farms        Desormeaux K J

Another that has been knocking on the door without really making his name he has a rather remarkable record of either winning or losing with 5 wins and no placings from his 26 starts. Four of those wins came last year which suggests he is a late bloomer and his recent form is among the stronger form in this field. His running style is a bit all over the place so a lot may depend on where he pozzies up but if things go his way he will be a contender.

7      Top Of The Crop        Maxmillion Farm       Cedillo A

A turf route for the turf king is the stables bread and butter but this four year old may be just a little better on the dirt and gets a tough draw. Lightly raced he ran two nice races on an off track last year most notably when second in the OH Derby and whilst his two later season efforts on the turf were OK they didn’t scream turfer to me. I think he may be one of those that likes an off track so with rain his chances will increase five fold.

8      King Que Niagra       D J C Racing Stables        Hernandez J J

Though his form is a bit up and down you have to respect what he has achieved when on song and he may just start favorite despite a tough draw. The Fort Marcy winner last year he was also a close second in the Wise Dan and the Fort Lauderdale form which puts him ahead in this field. He has dropped a few clunkers from wide draws which is the main worry but at his best he is far better than this field.


King Que Niagra is the obvious choice here although his inconsistency would have me refraining from mortgaging the house. If the rains come Top Of The Crop comes into it but second will probably go to Buffalo G with the stable mate not far behind.

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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