Buzzards Bay, co-high weighted at 120 pounds with Arson Squad, is trained by Ron Ellis. He posted a third-place finish in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) prior to the Californian, ending nearly 11 months on the shelf. The 5-year-old chestnut son of Marco Bay, who will be ridden by Jose Valdivia, has banked $1.3 million in his career. The Florida bred horse won the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in 2005.
Arson Squad, a gelded son of Brahms, has been out of action since being scratched from the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in early March. Prior to the Big ‘Cap mishap, the Bruce Headley trainee, won Santa Anita’s Strub Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds.
Awesome Gem has four wins and four seconds in 11 lifetime starts, honing his skills for Saturday with a sharp allowance win at Hollywood Park in his second start after an eighth-place finish in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) behind Lava Man. David Flores, who rode the 4-year-old son of Awesome Again as a 3-year-old, will be reunited with him for the San Diego, as Alex Solis moves to Arson Squad. In January, Awesome Gem defeated Arson Squad in the San Fernando Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for 4-year-olds prior to running up the track to that one in the Strub.
Sun Boat, beaten a neck by Buzzards Bay in the Californian, will represent trainer Mike Mitchell, who gelded him after claiming him for $50,000 three races back. For Mitchell, the 5-year-old son of Machiavellian posted a win in a claiming race at Hollywood Park before the Californian. Michael Baze retains the mount.
Raise the Bluff, who has been off since winning the Santana Mile at Santa Anita March 11, gets Tyler Baze Saturday.
$300,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II, Race 9, 6 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Arson Squad (PA), 120, Alex O. Solis
2. Salty Humor (KY), 113, Jon K. Court
3. Soul City Slew (KY), 113, Martin Garcia
4. Raise the Bluff (MD), 114, Tyler Baze
5. Buzzards Bay (FL), 120, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
6. C'Mon Tiger (KY), 112, Victor Espinoza
7. Awesome Gem (KY), 117, David R. Flores
8. Heatseeker (IRE), 113, Joseph Talamo
9. Sun Boat (GB), 114, Michael C. Baze