SAN PASQUAL AND SHAM TOP SANTA ANITA WEEKEND
A solid field of some of the top handicap runners on the West Coast will assemble on Saturday at Santa Anita, in the $150,000 San Pasqual S. (G2). Tapizar, winner of the 2011 Sham S. (G3) on this oval, come off a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and looms large in this one. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the four-year-old colt is very talented and could be the one to catch following a strong recent drill on this oval.
Dual Grade 2 winner Prayer for Relief is the top gun for the Baffert barn in here, and would not surprise in his local debut. The late blooming son of Jump Start has put in four solid drills here and should be tracking the early tempo. Texas Mile S. (G3) victor Thiskyhasnolimit, Native Diver H. (G3) runner-up Tres Borrachos and multiple Grade 2-placed Tweebster add to the depth of the field.
Also on Saturday, unbeaten Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle will hope to keep his stellar mark intact when leading the field in the $100,000 Sham S. (G3). The fleet son of Eddington has been superb in all three lifetime tries and will hope to carry his speed a mile in this one for Bob Baffert. He’ll be very tough in kicking off his sophomore campaign.
Among the top contenders to face him are Delta Jackpot S. (G3) third Longview Drive, impressive Churchill maiden winner Hierro, private purchase Handsome Mike, seventh in the CashCall Futurity (G1) most recently, smart maiden romper Spirit Rules and Hollywood Prevue S. (G3) third Hodge.
The Sunday feature at Santa Anita is the $100,000 Daytona H. (G3) at 6 ½ furlongs on the lawn.