Offlee Naughty Looks To Validate Whittingham Upset in G3 San Luis Rey

May 12, 2023

Offlee Naughty after his victory in the Charles Whittingham (G2) April 8 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Stable Notes by Victor Ryan

ARCADIA, Calif.— After earning his first stakes win with an 11-1 upset in the GII Charles Whittingham here April 8, Offlee Naughty will look to validate that form as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s GIII San Luis Rey going 1 ½-miles on turf.

Trained by Michael McCarthy, Offlee Naughty made his stakes debut in last year’s San Luis Rey and finished fourth. He was subsequently sent east for the remainder of the year where he largely toiled in the allowance ranks. But things started to turn this winter. The 5-year-old Flashback horse set a new track record on the synthetic track at Turfway Park when winning a 1 ¼-mile allowance 2:01.88. That race immediately preceded his win in the Whittingham.

McCarthy attributed Offlee Naughty’s recent run of success to being older and a more mature racehorse. In the 1 ¼-mile Whittingham with John Velazquez in the irons, Offlee Naughty closed with a flourish to win by a length over Dicey Mo Chara, who also returns in the San Luis Rey. Dicey Mo Chara is the 5-2 second choice in the morning line.

“I thought that was a great effort,” McCarthy said of the Whittingham. “Inside the three-sixteenths pole he found another gear and really got his head down. The race before he set a track record. This horse has really been doing well.”

In the San Luis Rey, Offlee Naughty will be ridden by Umberto Rispoli for the first time. Rispoli has been on a roll of his own lately. He has won with 9-of-28 mounts (32 percent) at the Hollywood Meet entering Friday and two weeks ago at Golden Gate on April 29, the native of Italy racked up three stakes wins for trainer Phil D’Amato.

The San Luis Rey attracted a competitive field of eight. It goes as Saturday’s ninth and final race with a scheduled post time of 5:11 p.m. The field in post position order: Explain This Audit, Ramon Vazquez (20-1); Planetario, Hector Berrios (6-1); Dicey Mo Chara, Juan Hernandez (5-2); Offlee Naughty, Umberto Rispoli (8-5); Rimprotector, Kyle Frey (30-1); Agatino, Antonio Fresu (12-1)

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