A field of seven will travel nine furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf in Saturday’s $200,000 San Gabriel (G2). Conditioner Phil d’Amato will saddle a pair of talented contenders in the cast, and I think that the race will go through his duo.

Analysis

#2 Chosen Vessel is the pace of the race and figures to be leading the way through honest early splits. #4 Overdue and #7 Acker will track the pacesetter, with top pick #3 Cleopatra’s Strike rating near midpack in the early going.

Contenders

#1 DESERT STONE (3-1): Grade 1-placed 5-year-old draws the rail and will aim to run this field down in the stretch. Richard Baltas pupil has run big in his two previous tries locally over firm turf, and the son of Fastnet Rock could be moving best of all late with his top effort. Geo Franco has the call.

#2 CHOSEN VESSEL (10-1): Craig Dollase trainee has improved since adding blinkers in the summer and comes off a solid try when leading late in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). Five-year-old English Channel gelding cuts will show inside speed on the cut back in trip. Tyler Baze has the controls.

#3 CLEOPATRA’S STRIKE (2-1): Horse to beat from the d’Amato shedrow bagged the John Henry Turf Cup (G2) on this lawn two back, and he was beaten only a length when fourth in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). A nose second in this race last year, Smart Strike 7-year-old enters in career-best form and Abel Cedillo will be in the stirrups.

#4 OVERDUE (6-1): D’Amato trainee has shown steady improvement in 2019 and could be sitting on a big effort today. Overanalyze gelding has been first or second in four-of-five locally, and he has trained well in preparation of the San Gabriel. Mike Smith will pilot the lightly raced contender.

#5 NORTH COUNTY GUY (8-1): Recent allowance victor earned a lifetime best Brisnet Speed figure following his first-level allowance tally at Del Mar last out. Gray five-year-old takes a big class hike today, and he would be a bit of a surprise in this field. Mario Gutierrez has the assignment.

#6 MAJESTIC EAGLE (3-1): Neil Drysdale charge is a Grade 3 winner on the course and has won or placed in 8-of-10 at Santa Anita. Medaglia d’Oro five-year-old ran evenly in the Seabiscuit H. (G2) most recently, and he could improve making his second run off the bench. Rafael Bejarano retains the mount.

#7 ACKER (8-1): Neil French claim owns four lifetime wins at Santa Anita in advance of the San Gabriel. Include gelding was outrun in an allowance race on this strip last time out, and it would be hard to back him against this cast off the effort. Joel Rosario riding is a major plus, however.

San Gabriel Wagers

  • $10 Exacta Box: 3-4 ($20)
  • $1 Trifecta Key: 3 with 1,2,4 with all ($15)
  • $1 Trifecta Key: 3 with all with 1,2,4 ($15)