GOMEZ, LOUP BRETON BREAK THROUGH TO CAPTURE SAN MARCOS

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 24, 2010) – Blocked behind horses in midstretch, Garrett Gomez managed to propel Loup Breton to the outside and the 3-5 favorite overpowered High Court Drama Sunday to win Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 San Marcos Stakes by one-half length while running the 1 ¼ miles over a turf course termed “good” in 2:00.94.

It was the second victory in three starts in the United States for the 6-year-old Irish-bred who had come up a neck short in the Grade II San Gabriel Handicap over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita one month previous.

For an instant or two, Gomez wondered if he might find a measure of smooth sailing, but once he broke through, Loup Breton methodically wore down High Court Drama, who had spurted to a nearly two-length advantage under Michael Baze.

Riviera Cocktail, ridden by Joel Rosario, finished third, 1 ¾ lengths behind High Court Drama among the same eight starters that had entered the 58th running of the event before a severe storm washed out last Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday racing card.

Julio Canani, who trains Loup Breton, readily admitted that he was concerned about the midstretch circumstance that left Gomez searching for room. “I told him the next time I was bringing in Sandy Hawley,” quipped Canani in reference to the retired Hall of Famer who was known for taking circuitous routes.

With renowned producer-director David Milch presenting the trophy, Canani said, “It looked like I was Deadwood,” in reference to the popular HBO series that Milch wrote and produced. “I would have preferred to be three-wide,” continued Canani, “and I would have had no problem. This is a very nice horse.”

“He’s getting better adapted to our American style of racing with each start,” said Gomez. “He was very handy with me today, and he did his job.

“Around the far turn, there was nowhere to go. I was just in a little pocket and it seemed like nothing would develop. He was loaded for bear, but I just had to wait.”

Loup Breton paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10. The mutuels on High Court Drama were $4.80 and $3.60. The show price on Riviera Cocktail was $4.80.

The winner earned $90,000 for Wildenstein Stable, which elevated his career bankroll to $677,614 from a 5-4-2 record in 21 starts after being based in France until late last year. In the inaugural $66,150 Sweet Life Stakes for 3-year-old fillies run earlier, 7-10 favorite Rose Catherine, second to Tapitsfly in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November, registered a dominant wire-to-wire victory at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.

With Gomez in the irons, trainer Todd Pletcher’s bay daughter of Speightstown scored by 3 ½ lengths over Tanda while clocked in 1:12. She was making her first start over the unique grass layout.

The surface seemed much more agreeable after Rose Catherine‘s previous start had seen her fade to sixth in last month’s Grade I Hollywood Starlet at 1 1/16 miles over Hollywood Park’s synthetic footing.

As the odds-on choice in a field of eight on Sunday, Rose Catherine paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.20. Tanda, who defeated City to City by 1 ½ lengths for the place with Alex Solis aboard, returned $4.60 and $4. The latter, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, paid $5 to show.

A $410,000 yearling purchase owned by Paul P. Pompa Jr., Rose Catherine earned $38,970 to increase her career total to $246,707 from an overall record of 2-1-0 in six starts. Both wins and her second place finish were achieved in three starts on turf.

Santa Anita will be dark on Monday and Tuesday prior to the beginning of a five-day racing week on Wednesday with an eight-race program that gets underway at 1 p.m.

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