Never Met Me, Billy Joel Square Off in San Juan Capistrano Stakes at SA

The 19th Running of the G3 San Juan Capistrano

Sunday, June 19, 2022

SA Race #4 $125.000 11/2 Turf

3+ 121/124 Lbs (Plus Penalties)

Track Record-2:22.34 (Perpetual Motion-2008)

Stakes Record-2:22.96 (Greek Fighter-2009)

The 19th running of the G3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes has drawn a very top-heavy field for the Sunday feature at SA.  Although open to horses 3yo and up, all eight that passed through the entry box are carrying 124-pounds with the exception of Billy Joel.  That runner will spot his seven rivals two pounds as they go 12-furlongs on the SA lawn.  With a purse of “only” $125.000, it is one of the better G3 fields we’ll see all season.  Never Met Me and Billy Joel will probably garner the most attention at the windows, but let’s take a look at all eight of the combatants in the G3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes:

#1 Manchild (Invicta Group Llc/U. Rispoli 124): Rail horse was claimed for $32.000 out of a winning last-out effort.  Former G2 winner takes a shot at the G3 level in his first start for the new barn, but have to think this came up a bit tougher than expected.  Has always been a one-run closer, so will be interesting to see how the new barn plays it from this draw.

#2 Never Met Me (Mb Stables/A. Cedillo 124): Runner-up in a G2 here in his latest, this guy is a bonafide front-runner and don’t think he’ll change things up for this assignment.  Have to love these types that like to get to the front and keep right on trucking, and he looks like he’ll be alone out front.  MGSW is a major threat to lead every step.

#3 Afterburner (Arindel/E. Maldonado 124): Gelding will be making his seventh consecutive start at this 12-furlong distance and he has built a nice bankroll even though he only has one win on the lawn.  Took a G3 and a G2 as a juvenile and sophomore, respectively, on the dirt but he’s in a good run of form in these events and may be ready to deliver his best performance yet.

#4 Pacific Candy (Langley Farms/F.T. Alvarado 124): Horse is a multiple stakes winner, but has yet to beat graded foes.  Tries to do it in this one going a lot further than he’s ever run and catches a salty group to boot.  Expect he’ll try to settle and make a late move, but he’ll have to pass some quality individuals to get all of the money.

#5 Racconimus Maximus (Night Rider Stables/D. Van Dyke 124): 5yo gelding used a solid rally to share 3rd in the G3 effort in his latest.  That run was his first crack at this distance so it should give confidence that he comes right back at this trip.  Horse that won the G3 has to give him a couple pounds on the scale for this, but expect he’ll need someone to challenge the pace for him to show his best.

#6 Broad Brush (Czech Out Farms/K.J. Desormeaux 124): $28.000 claim took a $60.000 listed race in the first start for these connections before a 4th place finish at the same level last time.  Steps up in class for this and will have to pass a lot of high-class runners to snag a piece of this.

#7 Billy Joel (La Canada Racehorses/Mario Gutierrez 126): Highweight of the field will have to spot his rivals a couple pounds on the scale, but he does come here off of a win at this same trip/level.  Former BC Turf winner looks to be getting back to his old form and, while the weight is a concern, he looks to sit just off of the pace and should get first run on the leader.  He’ll have to truly be back to his old self to take this one, but that doesn’t appear out of the question by any means.

#8 Flashy Chai (Nakamura Stables/R.A. Vazquez 124): Gelding hasn’t started on turf, but his latest two works over the lawn look useful enough.  This will only be the 9th start of his career, but you’d like to see more evidence in the afternoons that this was what he wants to do.  Not counting this conditioner out in any spot, but this appears an ambitious spot.

Final Analysis: 2-7 all the way around the track.  Things may change at equal weight, but two pounds may make the difference.  Good luck to all involved in the G3 San Juan Capistrano!

Categories: Grade III, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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