Stable Notes: Mike Willman
Most recently, beaten a neck going a mile and one eighth on turf in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes Jan. 4, trainer Phil D’Amato’s Cleopatra’s Strike rates a huge chance in Saturday’s Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
“He’s found his top form,” said D’Amato on Thursday. “I like the distance. He’s one for two at a mile and a quarter and his win came here in a Grade II (John Henry Turf Classic, three starts back on Sept. 28), so we feel good about his chances. Abel (Cedillo) rode him last time and he won on him in the John Henry. He works him every time and he knows him well. This horse is very tactical, so we’re ready to go.”
A 7-year-old Ontario, Canadian-bred gelding by Smart Strike out of the Sky Classic mare Cleopatra’s Needle, Cleopatra’s Strike, who was originally based in Toronto, will be making his fifth start for D’Amato on Saturday. With an overall mark of 27-4-10-2, he has earnings of $428,844.