ARCADIA, Calif. — Trainer Mark Glatt’s venerable 6-year-old gelding Sharp Samurai and Peter Miller’s razor sharp 4-year-old colt Mo Forza head a field of seven 3-year-olds and up in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita.
A winner of the 2018 City of Hope Mile and most recently a solid second on dirt in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar Aug. 22, Sharp Samurai will also be cutting back in distance a quarter mile, while Mo Forza, a 4-year-old colt by Uncle Mo, comes off a stirring 4 ¼ length win on turf in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap Aug. 23.
Along with the top pair, Richard Mandella’s promising Brazilian-bred Royal Ship and Val Brinkerhoff’s hard knocking Restrainedvengence help make the City of Hope Mile a wide open affair on Saturday.
Owner: Red Baron’s Barn & Rancho Temescal
Trainer: Mark Glatt
Second, beaten three lengths by Maximum Security in the Pacific Classic, he returns to his preferred surface and retains the services of upstart Juan Hernandez. A huge second, beaten a half length by repeat winner United two starts back in the mile and one eighth turf Grade II Eddie Read stakes July 26, Sharp Samurai has two seconds and a third from three starts this year and will hope to use the City of Hope Mile as a springboard to a berth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 7 at Keeneland. A winner of five out his nine starts over the Santa Anita lawn, Sharp Samurai is 8-2-2-2 at one mile on grass. With eight wins from 21 overall starts, he has earnings of $981,270 and will be seeking his fifth graded stakes victory.
Owner: Bardy Farm & OG Boss
Trainer: Peter Miller
Idle since well beaten in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup Invitational Turf at Gulfstream Park Jan. 25, Mo Forza came back ready for Miller on Aug. 23, earning a career-best Beyer Speed figure of 101 in taking the Grade II Del Mar Handicap. With top jock Flavien Prat set to ride him back, Mo Forza will be bidding for his sixth win from 12 overall starts. Three for five at one mile on turf at Santa Anita, Mo Forza has won five out of his last six starts, including the Grade I Hollywood Derby four starts back on Nov. 30. Bred in Kentucky and owned in-part by former trainer Barry Abrams’ Bardy Farm, Mo Forza is out of the Unusual Heat mare Inflamed and is a four-time graded stakes winner with earnings of $614,460.
Owner: Fox Hill Farms, Inc. & Siena Farm, LLC
Trainer: Richard Mandella
A Group I stakes winner two starts back in his native Brazil, this 4-year-old colt by Midshipman lagged far back early and closed with a rush to be third, beaten 4 ¼ lengths in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap Aug. 23 and he figures to improve by many in his second start with Mandella. With Mike Smith riding him back, Royal Ship seeks his sixth win from nine overall starts.
Owner: Kelly Brinkerhoff & Bob Grayson, Jr.
Trainer: Val Brinkerhoff
Second, beaten 4 ¼ lengths by Mo Forza two starts back in the Del Mar Mile Handicap, this hard hitting 5-year-old gelding by the Giant’s Causeway stallion Hold Me Back comes off a game head victory in a $200,000 stakes going a mile and one eighth on dirt at Albuquerque Downs as the 4-5 favorite on Sept. 19. Second, beaten a head in last year’s City of Hope Mile, Restrainedvengence is equally as effective on turf and dirt and will be ridden back by Ruben Fuentes. With eight wins from 25 starts and earnings of $625,222, he seeks his first graded stakes win in his 26th career start.
The Grade II City of Hope Mile
Race 8 of 10 Approximate post time 12:30 p.m. PT
1. Sharp Samurai—Juan Hernandez—122
2. Restrainedvengence—Ruben Fuentes—122
3. Majestic Eagle—Ricardo Gonzalez—122
4. Royal Ship—Mike Smith—124
5. Bob and Jackie—Heriberto Figueroa—122
6. Blitzkrieg—Abel Cedillo—122
7. Mo Forza—Flavien Prat—126
First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Santa Anita’s races can be viewed live and free of charge at santaanita.com.
Photo: Mo Forza. Credit: Benoit Photos