Trainer Mike Mitchell will be looking for the trifecta March 28 when he sends out distance specialist Big Booster and two two others in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park.
The 8-year-old gelding Big Booster will be making his first start since finishing a fast-closing third, less than a length behind Muhannak and Church Service, in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon last Oct. 25 on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface. The former claimer carries high weight of 119 pounds in a seven-horse field drawn for the 1 1/2-mile Tokyo City Cup.
Big Booster, claimed by Mitchell for $62,500 in February 2007 and running for the partnership of Anastasi, Anastasi, and Ukegawa, ran the marathon 12-furlong distance for the first time in last year's Tokyo City Cup, also finishing third, three-quarters of a length behind Niagara Causeway and Church Service. He subsequently captured Santa Anita’s San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 3/4 miles on turf and Hollywood Park’s Gallant Man Handicap at 1 5/8 miles on Cushion Track, his last victory June 1.
Rafael Bejarano remains aboard Big Booster for the bay's first start in five months, and they'll break from the inside post. With 10 victories in 47 lifetime starts and earnings of $788,623, Big Booster is the most accomplished horse in the field.
Grade II winner Zappa is another former claimer now trained by John Sadler for Gary and Cecil Barber, who paid $32,000 for him. The 7-year-old gelded son of Afternoon Deelites defeated Big Booster in the 1 1/2-mile Cougar II Handicap on Del Mar's Polytrack by eight lengths last summer. Zappa ran off to a seven-length lead that day and was never challenged. Zappa's form soured soon after, however, and he ran seventh in the Breeders' Cup Marathon.
Coming off a close second-place finish in the Turf Paradise Handicap Feb. 14, the veteran performer has 13 wins in 40 starts and earnings of $549,032.
Robert A. Alexander's Kizzy's Chaos, coming off a gate-to-wire optional claiming win March at 1 1/4 miles, figures to keep Zappa honest on the front end. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, the 4-year-old Evansville Slew colt has won three of four starts since breaking his maiden at Hollywood Park in November. This will be the stakes debut for Kizzy's Chaos.
Fire Wood defeated an optional claiming allowance field on the Pro-Ride surface Feb. 5 in his only start for Mitchell after he claimed the 7-year-old Woodman gelding from Ron Ellis less than two weeks earlier. Fire Wood has not been tried at the 12-furlong distance. In his only prior stakes effort, he ran fourth in the Golden Gate Fields Turf (gr. IIIT) at 11 furlongs last May. Mike Smith retains the mount.
Dynamalt, a 4-year-old Dynaformer gelding owned by Zayat Stables, has just one win in 15 starts, 12 of those efforts coming on grass. He has been stuck at the entry allowance level since last May, and is coming off a fourth-place finish at nine furlongs on the Santa Anita turf March 8. Ninth in the Palm Beach (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park one year ago, Dynamalt will make his second stakes try.
Medjool, second in the off-the-turf Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. III) Dec. 26, looks to bounce back from a 10th-place finish in the Strub Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 7. Grade III winner Stream Cat was 10th in his last start, the March 7 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
$100,000 Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 4:07 p.m), 4 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Big Booster (KY), 119, Rafael Bejarano
2. Medjool(KY), 114, Michael C. Baze
3. Dynamalt (KY), 110, Joel Rosario
4. Stream Cat (KY), 116, Joseph Talamo
5. Zappa (KY), 117, Alex O. Solis
6. Fire Wood (KY), 111, Mike E. Smith
7. Kizzy's Chaos (FL) , 113, Martin Garcia