(from Santa Anita report)
California-bred Georgie Boy looked like he was back in top form when he won the Sunshine Millions Sprint Jan. 24, making him a formidable favorite for the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 21. The seven-furlong Pro-Ride event drew a short field of six.
A back injury knocked Georgie Boy off the Triple Crown trail last spring and his return to form has been touch-and-go for owner/breeder George Schwary and trainer Kathy Walsh.
As the 5-2 second choice in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions event, Georgie Boy closed strongly to win by 2 1/2 lengths while displaying the talent that had taken him to successive victories in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I), the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) -- both at the San Carlos distance -- and the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes (gr. II). All those wins came before being stymied by the back ailment in March.
His victory at Santa Anita on Sunshine Millions Day came in his third race on the comeback trail. Georgie Boy’s winning time of 1:08.12 for six furlongs was reflective of his steady improvement since returning to action last October.
Garrett Gomez will be back aboard for the San Carlos when the gelded 4-year-old son of Tribal Rule will carry high weight of 120 pounds against five opponents, none of whom has been victorious in a graded stakes race.
With earnings of $690,634 from a 5-2-2 record in 10 starts, Georgie Boy is by far the most accomplished of the entrants.
“He’s a very exciting horse, and he’s very close to all of us,” said trainer Kathy Walsh. “Mr. Schwary has been very patient, and he’s being rewarded now.”
While Georgie Boy failed to reach any of last year’s Triple Crown events, Yankee Bravo ran 10th in the Preakness (gr. I) after finishing fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) for trainer Paddy Gallagher. The winner of Golden Gate Fields’ 2008 California Derby returns from nine months on the sidelines following his Preakness endeavor on May 17.
Jockey Alex Solis rejoins the Yankee Gentleman colt who has banked $247,049 for Bienstock and Winner Stables from three wins in six starts.
Mutadda ships in from New Orleans after winning the Gaudin Memorial Stakes for owner Andrena Van Doren and trainer Tom Amoss.
“This looks like a good spot,” said Amoss from Louisiana. “There wasn’t too much around here, and seven-eighths is his best distance.”
The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred brings a 4-3-1 record from 15 starts for earnings of $171,959. Joe Talamo rides.
$150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II, Race 4, 2:03 p.m.), 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Star Nicholas (CA), 114, Michael C. Baze
2. Halo Najib (FL), 114, Rafael Bejarano
3. Yankee Bravo (KY), 116, Alex O. Solis
4. Past the Point (KY), 115, Joel Rosario
5. Georgie Boy (CA), 120, Garrett K. Gomez
6. Mutadda (KY), 115, Joseph Talamo