ARCADIA, Calif. –Classy and plenty versatile, Indian Peak heads a field of eight older horses going a mile and one eighth over the Santa Anita turf in Saturday’s $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic, presented by City National Bank.
A winner of last year’s Cal Cup Derby on the Santa Anita main track, Legacy Ranch’s Big Fish gets back with statebreds on Saturday and appears a good fit as he tries the Classic distance for the first time.
Owned and bred by Alfred Pais, Margot’s Boy, although winless in nine starts last year, had four seconds and a proven affinity for the local lawn as he seeks his first stakes win.
Originally scheduled for turf, the Grade III San Gabriel Stakes was moved to the main track due to recent rain on Dec. 26 and although he was attentive to the early pace, Indian Peak simply didn’t fire, finishing a distant fourth at 5-1.
Trained by Ruben Alvarado, Indian Peak, a 5-year-old gelding by Comic Strip, out of the Roar mare Ms. Booty, was a big third, beaten three quarters of a length two starts back going 1 1/16 miles on turf in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar Nov. 27.
A winner of the mile and one eighth turf Snow Chief Stakes here at age three in June, 2020, Indian Peak is 5-2-1-0 over the course and he comes off his best year in terms of money-won, banking $170,932 from an 11-2-1-1 mark in 2021.
Owned by Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber, Indian Peak, who won the California Flag Handicap three starts back going down the hillside turf at about 6 ½ furlongs on Oct. 17, will likely attend the early pace as he seeks his seventh win from 23 overall starts.
Trained by David Hofmans, Big Fish, a 4-year-old gelding by hot sire Mr. Big, comes off a fourth place run going a mile and one sixteenth on synthetic Tapeta in the Grade III Berkeley Handicap Nov. 27 at Golden Gate Fields.
Although winless in three tries over the Santa Anita turf, Big Fish has two wins from six turf tries, including an ungraded stakes win going a mile on turf at Del Mar as a juvenile. With an overall mark of 12-3-2-1, Big Fish has the credentials to be a major factor in the Classic.
A sharp second, beaten a neck in a one mile allowance on the main track here Dec. 4, the Craig Lewis-trained Margot’s Boy, who was ninth the Classic a year ago, has three wins from eight tries over the course and rates a fighting chance with Juan Hernandez back aboard. A 5-year-old gelding by top California-based sire Clubhouse Ride, Margot’s Boy is 21-3-5-3 with earnings of $260,946.
THE UNUSUAL HEAT TURF CLASSIC WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 6 of 10 Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT
- Whooping Jay–Joe Bravo–120
- Margot’s Boy–Juan Hernandez–122
- Aligato–Flavien Prat–120
- Luvluv–Tyler Baze–120
- Camino Del Paraiso–Ricardo Gonzalez–124
- Big Fish–Umberto Rispoli–124
- Ferrariano–Abel Cedillo–120
- Indian Peak–John Velazquez–124
First post time for a 10-race card on Cal Cup Day, Saturday, is at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. The Unusual Heat Turf Classic presented by City National Bank, is on of five California-bred or sired stakes on Saturday.
Santa Anita Park Press Release
Photo: Indian Peak (Benoit Photo)