Lion Heart's Derby Crusade Starts in San Rafael
by Margaret Ransom
Date Posted: 3/3/2004 6:19:02 PM
Last Updated: 3/3/2004 8:49:43 PM

A full field of 10 sophomores will go to the post in Saturday's $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, including grade I winner Lion Heart, the likely favorite making his first start of the year.

A total of 12 horses were entered, 10 for the main body of the race and two on the also-eligible list.

On Wednesday, Lion Heart breezed a half-mile in :47 over Santa Anita's fast main track for trainer Patrick Biancone. The move was postponed a day after heavy rains forced the main track to be closed for training on Tuesday.

"We prefer sunny days to rainy days," Biancone said. "I'm happy."

Lion Heart will break from post position seven with regular rider Mike Smith and carry top weight of 121 pounds.

Other notables set to line up and face the starter in the San Rafael include San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) winner Imperialism, San Miguel Stakes (gr. III) winner Hosco, Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) runner-up Lucky Pulpit, and Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner Castledale, making his first start on dirt.

$200,000 San Rafael Stakes (g. II), 3-year-olds, 1 mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Wimplestiltskin, 115, Jose Valdivia Jr.
2. Hasslefree, 115, Alex Solis
3. Imperialism, 118, Victor Espinoza
4. Lucky Pulpit, 115, Kent Desormeaux
5. Castledale, 118, David Flores
6. Hosco, 118, Tyler Baze
7. Lion Heart, 121, Mike Smith
8. Consecrate, 115, Javier Santiago
9. Toasted, , 115, Gary Stevens
10. Quintons Gold Rush, 115, Corey Nakatani
AE. Spellbinder, 115, Alex Solis
AE. Lipan, 115, Martin Pedroza

In other 3-year-old news, Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Action This Day, fourth in the Feb. 8 Sham Stakes last out, worked seven furlongs in a bullet 1:24 2/5 under jockey David Flores.

"He couldn't be better," trainer Richard Mandella said.

Stablemate Halfbridled, getting ready for her first start this year in the Mar. 13 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), went a mile in 1:38 under Alex Solis.

"She went with a stablemate that was actually only going six (furlongs) and galloping out seven," Mandella said.

Grade II-placed Pomeroy, who will race in the $200,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct on March 20, went seven furlongs in 1:27 2/5 with stablemate Salty Romance, a Santa Anita Oaks probable, who logged 1:26 1/5 for trainer Patrick Biancone.

"He broke off about six lengths or more behind her and almost caught her," Biancone said.

Pomeroy won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) before being disqualified and placed third for bumping a rival. He was also second in the Saratoga Special (gr. II).

Salty Romance was second to A.P. Adventure in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) in her last start after winning the Delta Princess Stakes at Delta Downs on Dec. 5 by 5 ½ lengths.


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