A field of nine was entered for Sunday's San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, at about 1 3/4-mile on turf the longest grade I race in North America.
Alex Solis rides the 117-pound high weight and favorite, Champion Lodge, in the 64th edition of the San Juan Capistrano, the closing feature of the 85-day winter/spring meeting.
Since races at the distance are far from the norm in American racing, it's a one-time only experience for most riders and horses, but Solis was not overly concerned about the task before him.
"You have to have a horse that can relax and go that far," Solis said Thursday morning. "That's the most important thing, just to have the right horse for the race. One of the good things about Champion Lodge is that he'll relax. He's not a horse that pulls a lot, so it makes it a lot easier.
"Hopefully, I can get somebody in front of us and get him covered up and get him to relax. I don't think the condition of the turf course will make much difference to him, but again, the most important thing is to get him to relax. It's a long race."
A 6-year-old Irish-bred gelding owned by Ron Charles and the Clear Valley Stable and trained by Sandy Shulman, Champion Lodge has won two of three races in the United States. He tallied a six-length victory in the March 15 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 ½ miles on yielding turf.
Champion Lodge has a 6-4-2 record from 24 starts, with earnings of $301,804.$400,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IT, 4:37 p.m. PDT), 4 & up, about 1 3/4 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Wgt., Jockey
Post Horse Name Age Sex Weight Jockey Name
1. Nazirali (IRE), 116, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
2. Champion Lodge (IRE), 117, Alex O. Solis
3. All the Boys (MD), 110, Patrick A. Valenzuela
4. Passinetti (KY), 110, Brice Blanc
5. Delta Form (AUS), 115, Goncalino Almeida
6. Adminniestrator (CA), 115, David R. Flores
7. Special Matter (FL), 113, Tyler Baze
8. Timber Cruiser (KY), 111, Matt S. Garcia
9. Noble Kinsman (CA), 108, Felipe F. Martinez