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McANALLY’S INTERACTION TOPS DEEP 14-HORSE FIELD IN SATURDAY’S GRADE II SAN MARCOS AT 1 ¼ MILES ON TURF
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 6, 2013)—Fresh off victory in Santa Anita’s Grade II Arcadia Stakes with Suggestive Boy on Feb. 2, Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally will be out to win his second Grade II stakes in a week, as his Argentine-bred Interaction heads a deep and competitive 14-horse field in Saturday’s $150,000 San Marcos Stakes for older horses at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
A three-time Group I winner in Argentina, Interaction won a classified allowance going 1 1/8 miles on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 16, his third stateside-start and his first start for McAnally. Second at odds of 11-1 to eventual Grass Horse of the Year Acclamation in the Grade I Eddie Read at Del Mar on July 21, Interaction comes off a big second at 29-1 in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 15.
Currently a 7-year-old, Interaction has run well from on and off the pace. Having drawn the rail for Saturday’s San Marcos, it’ll be up to Joe Talamo to access the early pace scenario as the field makes a short run down the hillside to the dirt crossing at the top of the stretch.
Owned by Pozo de Luna, Inc., Interaction has a win and a third-place finish from four tries at 1 ¼ miles on turf. His overall mark is 20-6-4-2, with earnings of $585,463.
Comebacking jockey Gary Stevens gets a live opportunity in the San Marcos, as he’ll ride English-bred Slim Shadey for trainer Simon Callaghan. The 5-year-old gelding by Val Royal comes off a disappointing sixth-place run as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes on Jan. 13 with Garrett Gomez.
The race highweight at 123 pounds, Slim Shadey will break from post position 13 and it’s expected Stevens will have “Slim” forwardly placed when the field makes its first pass by the grandstand.
Owned and bred by Phil Cunningham, Slim Shadey’s most recent win came four starts back, in Santa Anita’s Grade II John Henry Turf Championship on Sept. 30 at 1 ¼ miles. In the John Henry, he bounded along on an uncontested lead, and won by 2 ¼ lengths.
Slim Shadey is 6-3-1-0 at the San Marcos distance, and has an overall mark of 25-4-4-0, with earnings of $523,850.
Veteran Richard’s Kid, a six-time winner on synthetic, who is winless from one start on turf, will try the grass for only the second time in the San Marcos as trainer Doug O’Neill tries to reverse the recent fortunes of the 8-year-old horse by Lemon Drop Kid.
A two-time stakes winner with Bob Baffert in June and July, Richard’s Kid was sold privately in advance of the Grade I Pacific Classic on Aug. 26, and was saddled by O’Neill’s assistant, Leandro Mora to a third-place finish from well off the pace.
He was third again, on a surface that favored speed, in the Grade I Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept. 29. Richard’s Kid was subsequently fifth, beaten eight lengths, by Fort Larned in the Grade I Breeders’s Cup Classic—as he again tried to close ground on a surface that was conducive to front runners.
His most recent outing was his most disappointing, as Richard’s Kid faded badly to run fourth, beaten 15 ½ lengths, in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes on Dec. 1. Owned by D. Kenney, Triple B Farms, Westside Rentals.com and partners, Richard’s Kid has amassed earnings of $2,301,385 from an overall mark of 39-11-3-9.
Trainer Peter Miller will send out All Squared Away, who comes off a sharp second-condition allowance win over the course at 1 ¼ miles on Jan. 6, and retains the services of Gomez. A Derby prospect at three, All Squared Away won the Grade III Lexington in April and made his first start for Miller on July 4—as he ran a distant seventh in the Grade II Swaps Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Although he has won on the lead, All Squared Away’s win on Jan. 6 came via a furious stretch rally from off the pace and it’s likely Gomez will try to push the “repeat” button on Saturday. Owned by Brous Stable or Wachtel Stable or Wire to Wire Stable and partners, All Squared Away, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Bellamy Road, has a record of 18-4-2-2 and earnings of $256,809.
Fire With Fire, who was second, beaten a nose, by All Squared Away on Jan. 6, led every jump of the way but the last one and is expected to again show plenty of speed under Martin Garcia. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Fire With Fire has solid graded stakes credentials, as he was third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 25, and although he was off the board, ran credible races in both the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship on Sept. 30 and the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 15.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Distorted Humor, Fire With Fire is owned by David Heerensperger. He has earnings of $194,444 from a record of 18-2-5-3.
Second at 20-1 to multiple graded stakes winner Jeranimo in the San Gabriel Stakes Jan. 13, Temple’s Door would appear to be sitting on another good effort for trainer Jeff Mullins. A 5-year-old by Leroidesanimaux, Temple’s Door sat close to the San Gabriel pace with Tyler Baze, who again rides on Saturday.
With all of his lifetime starts on turf, Temple’s Door brings a mark of 11-3-1-3 and $152,296 in earnings to the San Marcos party. He is owned by Ingrid E. Truman.
A winner of the Grade III Affirmed Handicap on Cushion Track in June, 2010, Golden Itiz had a fast pace to run at and closed much ground when third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in a third-condition allowance going a mile on grass Jan. 10. With regular rider Joe Talamo opting for Interaction, Golden Itiz will be ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza.
A 6-year-old horse by Tiznow, Golden Itiz is owned by Samantha Siegel and is trained by Ron Ellis. His record stands at 13-0-4-3, with earnings of $181,399.
Although the San Marcos will be his stakes debut, Dream Catcher, who was third, beaten a length by All Squared Away on Jan. 6, is in good form for trainer John Sadler and rates an upset chance. Owned by Halo Farms and Jim Bashor, Dreamcatcher, a 4-year-old by Tapit, was bred in Kentucky by Halo Farms. He has a 6-1-2-2 mark on turf and his overall record is 10-2-2-2, with earnings of $113,930.
A winner of the Grade II San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April, 2011, Juniper Pass is has been winless in eight subsequent starts, including a fourth-place run in the San Gabriel. Juniper Pass has the advantage of being reunited with Rafael Bejarano, who guided him to victories in both the San Juan Capistrano and the San Luis Rey in 2011. Bejarano has not ridden him in his last four starts.
Trained by Ray Bell, the 6-year-old gelding by Lemon Drop Kid is owned by Betty and Robert Irvin and has earnings of $379,425 from a mark of 20-4-2-3.
The San Marcos Stakes, to be run as the ninth race on a ten-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Interaction, Joe Talamo, 118; Juniper Pass, Rafael Bejarano, 118; All Squared Away, Garrett Gomez, 118; Temple’s Door, Tyler Baze, 118; Richard’s Kid, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Dreamcatcher, David Flores, 118; Golden Itiz, Victor Espinoza, 118; Bridge of Gold, Julien Leparoux, 118; Fast Track, Orlando Mojica, 118; Smart Ellis, Flavien Prat, 118; Fire With Fire, Martin Garcia, 118; Shaun Washington, Brice Blanc, 118; Slim Shadey, Gary Stevens, 123, and Huntsville, Corey Nakatani, 118.
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.santaanita.com.