ARCADIA, Calif. –A head shy of seeking his fifth consecutive win, Hronis Racing’s versatile Cistron bids for his third straight as he heads a field of seven 3-year-olds and up going 5 ½ furlongs on turf in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trained by John Sadler, Cistron comes off a solid head victory over the course on March 21 and he appears at the peak of his powers at age six.
Texas Wedge, trained by Peter Miller, is also seeking his third straight win and along with Doug O’Neill’s Wildman Jack and the Ron Ellis-trained Blameitonthelaw, the contention in Saturday’s Daytona runs deep.
Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC
Trainer: John Sadler
A winner of the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes on dirt two starts back on July 27, he then took the Grade III San Simeon Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf here March 21–earning back to back 100 Beyer Speed figures. If this 6-year-old full horse by The Factor runs back to his San Simeon, he’ll be plenty tough under regular rider Victor Espinoza.
Owner: Altimira Racing Stable, Rafter JR Ranch, LLC, STD Racing Stable & A. Miller
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
A winner two starts back of the Grade II Joe Hernandez Stakes over the course on Jan. 1, this 5-year-old Colonel John gelding then took an ungraded five furlong stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25. Based at San Luis Rey Downs, he’s won three out of his last four starts and four of his six lifetime wins have come on grass. With an overall mark of 14-6-3-2, he’ll be ridden for the third consecutive time by Flavien Prat.
Owner: W C Racing, Inc.
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
A lightly raced 4-year-old homebred gelding by O’Neill’s 2012 Kentucky Derby winner Goldencents, he returns from Dubai following a 4 ¾ length win in a Group III turf sprint contested at six furlongs. With all seven of his career starts coming in turf sprints, Wildman Jack, who has three wins, has been off the board only once. Fleet of foot early, he’ll be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith on Saturday.
The Grade III Daytona Stakes
Race 5, Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT
1. Sparky Vill, J: Geovanni Franco (122)
2. Stubbins, J: Umberto Rispoli (122)
3. Murad Khan, J: Abel Cedillo (120)
4. Blameitonthelaw, J: Drayden Van Dyke (120)
5. Cistron, J: Victor Espinoza (124)
6. Wildman Jack, J: Mike Smith (124)
7. Texas Wedge, J: Flavien Prat (124)
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Although there is no public admittance, wagering on all Santa Anita races is available via 1stBet.com or through Xpressbet.com. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
Photo: Hronis Racing’s versatile Cistron wins March 21. Credit: Benoit Photos