Hit The Road a standout in Sunday’s Grade II San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita

December 21, 2021

Trainer Dan Blacker’s Grade I winning Hit the Road figures prominently in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes as a field of seven 3-year-olds and up go a mile and one eighth on turf.  The San Gabriel, one of six graded stakes on an 11-race Opening Day card, will be run for the 74th time.  Special early first post time on Sunday is at 11 a.m., with admission gates opening at 9 a.m.

A winner of Santa Anita’s Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile four starts back on March 6, Hit the Road, a 4-year-old colt by More Than Ready, has been winless since, but he comes off a pair of close third place finishes in graded stakes competition, most recently the Grade II City of Hope Mile (turf) here on Oct. 2, in which he was beaten a half length.

Owned by D K Racing, LLC and Radley Equine, Inc., Taste of Victory Stables, Rick Gold, Tony Maslowski and Dave Odmark, Hit the Road, a four-time stakes winner, has run in 11 consecutive one mile turf races and will be trying a mile and one eighth for the first time.

Ridden by midwestern-based Florent Geroux in his last four starts, Hit the Road will be reunited with Umberto Rispoli, who is a perfect three for three with him.  With an overall mark of 12-6-0-2, Hit the Road has earnings of $563,751.

Trainer Michael McCarthy’s Friar’s Road will also be trying a mile and one eighth on turf for the first time, but he’ll be shortening up from a solid third place finish going a mile and one half in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar Nov. 26.  Third, beaten a head two starts back going a mile and one quarter in Santa Anita’s Grade II John Henry Turf Championship Oct. 2, this 4-year-old colt by Quality Road will be seeking his first stakes victory on Sunday.

Originally based at Golden Gate Fields with trainer Quinn Howey, California-bred Indian Peak closed much ground to finish third, beaten three quarters of a length going a mile and one sixteenth on grass in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 27 and should appreciate the added distance of the San Gabriel.

A winner versus statebreds going a mile and one eighth over the course in the Snow Chief Stakes 12 starts back on June 20, 2020, this 4-year-old Comic Strip gelding has proven to be versatile and appears to be at the top of his game.  Trained by Peter Miller in his last four starts, he’ll be saddled by Ruben Alvarado on Sunday and be ridden back by Juan Hernandez.

THE GRADE II SAN GABRIEL WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 5 of 11  Approximate post time 1 p.m. PT

  1. Indian Peak–Juan Hernandez–121
  2. Friar’s Road–Jose Ortiz–121
  3. Bob and Jackie–Jose Valdivia, Jr.–121
  4. Hit the Road–Umberto Rispoli–123
  5. Majestic Eagle–John Velazquez–121
  6. Red Storm Risen–Flavien Prat–121
  7. Ready Soul–Kent Desormeaux–121

Santa Anita Press Release

Photo: Benoit Photgraphy

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