Santa Anita stakes hopefuls put in key works ahead of Saturday

February 5, 2022

Arcadia, Calif. – American Theorem, considered Triple Crown timber before being plagued with recurring shin problems after the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March of 2020, returns to stakes competition Saturday in the Grade II San Pasqual, a forerunner to the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 5.

A five-year-old son of 2015 Triple Crown king American Pharoah, American Theorem worked five furlongs last Sunday in 1:01.40 for George Papaprodromou, trainer of the gray ridgling for principal client Rustin Kretz, who runs as Kretz Racing LLC.

Hall of Fame veteran Mike Smith, who guided American Theorem to a front-running 2 ¼-length victory in a first condition allowance at a mile and one sixteenth on Jan. 2, was aboard for the recent drill and has the mount in the San Pasqual.

The San Pasqual, race eight of nine with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Kiss Today Goodbye, Abel Cedillo, 15-1; Express Train, Victor Espinoza, 2-1; American Theorem, Mike Smith, 6-1; Eight Rings, John Velazquez, 3-1; Spielberg, Flavien Prat, 7-2; and Law Professor, Juan Hernandez, 5-2.


Park Avenue may as well have been on the Boardwalk as far back as she finished in the La Canada Stakes on New Year’s Day, but John Sadler is hopeful she’ll fare better Saturday against four foes in the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes at seven furlongs. “She’s a nice filly, she won two in a row but was no match for the winner (finishing second by 13 ½ lengths behind As Time Goes By) in the La Canada. Park Avenue has a good chance Saturday to get more black type.”

A four-year-old daughter of Quality Road owned by Peter and Kosta Hronis, Park Avenue won two overnight races, each by five lengths, prior to the 1 1/16-mile La Canada.

The Santa Monica, race six: Kalypso, John Velazquez, 3-1; Ce Ce, Victor Espinoza, 3-5; Merneith, Edwin Maldonado, 7-2; Full of Grace, Abdul Alsagoor, 30-1; and Park Avenue, Juan Hernandez, 6-1.


Subconscious returns in Saturday’s Grade III Thunder Road Stakes after a hiatus of just over two months. The son of Tapit trained by Richard Mandella for LNJ Foxwoods has been working smartly for the one-mile turf race.

“He’s training very well,” Mandella said of the four-year-old gelding, fifth in the Grade I Hollywood Derby at 1 1/8 miles in his most recent start last Nov.27 but a clear-cut winner of the Grade II Twilight Derby before that on Oct. 31 at Santa Anita. “He was a little flat in the Hollywood Derby, like he’d had one too many races, so I just gave him a little extra time,” the Hall of Fame conditioner explained.

Meanwhile, multiple Grade I turf stakes winner United continues to recover at Peacefield Farm in Temecula from a suspensory issue following his dramatic victory separated by three noses in the John Henry Turf Championship last Oct. 2.

“He won’t be back for a while and won’t run until the end of the summer,” Mandella said of the seven-year-old gelding, winner 10 races and more than $1.8 million for LNJ Foxwoods.

Santa Anita Oaks winner Soothsay, however, remains on course for the Grade I Beholder Mile on March 5. She breezed five furlongs Thursday in a bullet 1:00.20, fastest of 26 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.99.

The field for the Thunder Road, which goes as the first race: Subconscious, Juan Hernandez, 8-5; Sniper Kitten, Chris Emigh, 20-1; Count Again, Flavien Prat, 5-2; Delaware, Mike Smith, 6-1; Ready Soul, John Velazquez, 5-2; and Hurricane Cloud, Umberto Rispoli, 5-1.


John Sadler has undefeated Runhappy Malibu Stakes winner Flightline scheduled to have his second breeze Sunday since that Dec. 26 race in preparation for the Grade II San Carlos Stakes on March 5 .

Doug O’Neill’s world traveler Hot Rod Charlie won Friday’s Group 2 Al Maktoum Stakes in Dubai by 5 ½ lengths as the 1-2 favorite under William Buick filling in for Flavien Prat. Hot Rod’s next goal is the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 26.

Nick Cosato, Managing Partner of Slam Dunk Racing, will be seminar host Tom Quigley’s guest Saturday, and Equine Scout’s Larry Zap will do honors Sunday, each day at 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens.

A mutuel rarity occurred in last Sunday’s first race when the winner, Epoch, $25.80, ridden by Ryan Curafolo, paid more to win than the exacta ($24.40), occurring when the 2-5 favorite, Mo Gold, ran second by a neck under Flavien Prat. Not as rare were the horses in Sunday’s fourth race finishing in the exact order of their saddle cloths, No. 1 Happy Trails coming from absolutely last in the 6 ½ furlong sprint to win by 1 ¼ lengths at a $12.80 payoff under Tyler Baze for Val Brinkerhoff who trains the five-year-old mare for Bob Grayson Jr. Happy Trails was followed by La Pulcinela (2), Flat Out Joy (3), Vegan (4) and Dirt Flirt (5).

There were 122 recorded works today, 100 even on the main track, 22 on the training track.

Friends of iconic Santa Anita bartender Frank Panza are reminded that a memorial in his honor will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, in the Chandelier Room from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ed Golden/Santa Anita Stable Notes

Photo: American Theorem/Benoit Photo

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