Journeyman Brice Blanc, building a reputation as a premier turf rider in Southern California, could find himself on the favorite, One Off, for trainer Neil Drysdale Saturday in the $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) for older horses going 12 furlongs.
The 34-year-old Blanc, a native of Lyon, France, likes his chances on One Off, a 7-year-old English-bred gelding who was disqualified from second to third in his most recent race, the Feb. 25 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT), also at 1 1/2 miles. The bay son of Barathea has a 9-5-1 record from 25 starts, with earnings of $325,354 for owners Burt and Jane Bacharach.
“He’s got an ideal style for a mile and a half, and the farther he goes, the better,” Blanc said of One Off. “He can go a mile and three-quarters with no problem. He kind of drifted a little when I hit him left-handed the last two races (including a victory in the grade II San Marcos Stakes), but he was running, so it was my fault in not correcting him. It’s not an issue with him.”
Likely to vie for favoritism with One Off is another Drysdale trainee, Fourty Niners Son, winner of the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. IT) at Oak Tree in October of 2005.
Fourty Niners Son, a 6-year-old Distorted Humor horse owned and bred in Kentucky by Tom Baxter of Rancho Santa Fe, has a 5-3-4 record from 18 starts, with earnings of $553,825.
Trainer Bobby Frankel sends out Notable Guest in the turf marathon.
Frankel registered his first victory in the San Luis Rey last year with King’s Drama. Earlier this meet, Frankel surpassed Charlie Whittingham’s career total of 869 wins, but the 65-year-old Brooklyn native remains second to Whittingham in stakes wins at Santa Anita, 204-129.
Notable Guest, a 6-year-old Kingmambo horse owned by Frankel’s principal client, Juddmonte Farms, closed well to be second in the San Marcos on Jan. 21, then weakened after stalking the pace and finished fifth in the San Luis Obispo.
$200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. One Off (GB), 117, Brice Blanc
2. Phar to Win (CA), 112, Jon K. Court
3. Fourty Niners Son (KY), 117, Garrett K. Gomez
4. Fitz Flag (ARG), 112, G. F. Almeida
5. Prospect Park (GB), 114, Corey S. Nakatani
6. A. P. Xcellent (KY), 113, Victor Espinoza
7. Runaway Dancer (KY), 116, Alex O. Solis
8. Notable Guest (KY), 114, David R. Flores