Just five 3-year-olds are entered in the seven-furlong San Vicente, which will be contested on the Cushion Track synthetic surface.
Owner B. Wayne Hughes and trainer Richard Mandella won last weekend's 3-year-old feature, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II), impressively with the fast improving Crown of Thorns, and they hope to emulate that success with Into Mischief. Not only was Into Mischief a sharp 1 1/4-length winner in the 1 1/16-mile CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park Dec. 22, the Harlan's Holiday colt also broke his maiden debuting on Santa Anita's Cushion Track during the Oak Tree meet Oct. 21.
To be ridden by Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard for all of the Kentucky-bred bay's three prior starts, Into Mischief has shown plenty of speed in each of his races. In the CashCall Futurity, he vied for the lead throughout before edging away leaving the eighth pole to handily defeat Colonel John and San Vicente rival Massive Drama.
Into Mischief, carrying 119 pounds in the San Vicente, has won twice and finished second once while earning $448,800.
Massive Drama, also assigned 119 pounds, is the only horse to have beaten Into Mischief and that victory came at the San Vicente distance of seven panels.
Trained by Bob Baffert, the Kafwain colt broke slowly in the Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) but gathered himself quickly to gain the advantage. He then drew off late for a 1 3/4-length triumph. The Zayat Stables' competitor returned to run third in both the CashCall Futurity and the San Rafael (gr. III), in which he was favored Jan. 12 at Santa Anita.
In a significant jockey change, Garrett Gomez takes off Georgie Boy to ride Massive Drama. Rafael Bejarano, who rode Massive Drama for the first time in the San Rafael, replaces Gomez on Georgie Boy.
The latter has been close to running a couple of times since capturing the Del Mar Futurity for trainer Kathy Walsh more than five months ago, but he has not made it yet. The California-bred gelding was most recently scratched from the Sunshine Millions Dash Jan. 26. The son of Tribal Rule has a 2-2-1 record in five starts with earnings of $286,806.
If a speed duel develops between the other two leading contenders, Georgie Boy should benefit. The dark bay was far back in the 13-horse Del Mar Futurity field before rallying three wide into the stretch and closing with a big rush to defeat Salute the Sarge by a half-length. Georgie Boy also won the Graduation over Cal-breds in closing style by three lengths on the Del Mar Polytrack in July.
With those two stakes victories to his credit, Georgie Boy carries high weight of 122 pounds.
Cardinal Zin,a Kentucky-bred son of Whywhywhy, comes off a third-place showing in the 6 1/2-furlong San Pedro in his second start for trainer Paddy Gallagher Jan. 20.
Red Hot Flame, third behind Bob Black Jack in the California Breeders' Championship in his last start Dec. 26, completes the field for trainer Michael Harrington.
$150,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Georgie Boy (CA), 122, Rafael Bejarano
2. Massive Drama (KY), 119, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Red Hot Flame (CA), 115, Brice Blanc
4. Into Mischief (KY), 119, Victor Espinoza
5. Cardinal Zin (KY), 115, Alex O. Solis