Furthest Land, last-place finisher as the 3-5 favorite a month ago in his first race since capturing the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), can make amends Feb. 7 in the $150,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
The 1 1/8-mile San Antonio, a major prep for the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 6, attracted a field of 11 to the Pro-Ride main track. It goes as the seventh race on the program but will have an early 2:07 PST post time in deference to the Super Bowl.
Furthest Land drew the outside post position and will be reunited with Eclipse Award-winning jockey Julien Leparoux, who was aboard the 5-year-old Smart Strike gelding when he surprised in the $1-million Dirt Mile at Santa Anita Nov. 7 at 21-1 for trainer Michael Maker and owners Sarah and Kenneth Ramsey.
The former $35,000 claimer has won seven of 12 races and more than $800,000 since Ramsey took him for out of a turf race at Belmont Park in October 2008. Little wonder the Ramseys consider the dark bay or brown gelding their best claim ever.
Things went a bit awry for Furthest Land Jan. 9 in the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita, however. Pulling hard while tracking a pedestrian pace for six furlongs, Furthest Land challenged for the lead at the top of the lane. But he began to weaken under jockey Garrett Gomez approaching mid-stretch and wound up last of seven in the 1 1/16-mile test, beaten by five lengths by the victorious Neko Bay.
Furthest Land, who has won eight of 17 starts and $869,689 overall, was assigned 119 pounds for the San Antonio. That is three more than grade II winner Nownownow, who was nosed for second in the San Pasqual.
The 120-pound high weight is Richard's Kid, upset winner of the Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar last summer. The 5-year-old Richard's Kid, who went on to finish sixth in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), is kicking off his 2010 campaign in the San Antonio for new owner Zabeel Racing International. Trainer Bob Baffert remains the conditioner.
Richard's Kid, a son of Lemon Drop Kid , won the Pacific Classic by a neck over Einstein on Polytrack as a 24-1 underdog. He next traveled to Santa Anita to finish a close third to Gitano Hernando and Colonel John in Oak Tree's Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) prior to the Breeders' Cup. He has been working well for his return, posting a seven-furlong move at Santa Anita Jan. 28 in 1:25.
Gomez has the mount on Richard's Kid for the first time. “He’s been working really well,” said Gomez, who has been working the dark bay or brown horse in recent weeks. “He needs the pace in front of him.”
Mast Track , now owned by Stronach Stables and trained by John Shirreffs, makes his 2010 debut as well while carrying 118. He won the Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) Dec. 12 in his final start for trainer Humberto Ascanio.
The 6-year-old son of Mizzen Mast , a front-running winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) in 2008, was bred, trained and owned by Bobby Frankel previously. Mast Track is nearing the million-dollar mark in career earnings with $922,822 spread out over a 20-race career that includes six wins. Mike Smith takes over riding chores.
Nownownow, who won the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita against 4-year-olds more than a year ago, turned in a strong effort in the San Pasqual, where he was beaten by less than two in lengths in his first race in 10 months for trainer Patrick Biancone. The versatile 5-year-old son of Whywhywhy won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth Parkin 2007 and has earned $848,599 for owner Fab Oak Stable and partners.
Biancone also entered Fab Oak's Quasicobra, who is in search of his first stakes win.
Marsh Side , whose last victory for trainer Neil Drysdale came in the 2008 Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) over the Woodbine turf at 29-1, switches back to a synthetic surface for the first time since the summer of 2008. He'll tote 119 in the San Antonio.
The 7-year-old son of Gone West last raced in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) Nov. 29, finishing 17th in an 18-horse field. Marsh Side has won two of four tries over synthetic surfaces during a career that has resulted in earnings of $1,829,870 from a record of 5-3-1 in 25 starts.
Two first-time starters from Great Britain, both bred in Kentucky, add some intrigue.
Philatelist, now in the Ascanio barn for owner Johanna Louise Glen-Teven, won an allowance heat on synthetic track by more than three lengths at Wolverhampton in his most recent start Jan. 14.
Giganticus, a grass sprinter in England with five victories in 30 starts and earnings of $304,963, is a 7-year-old Giant's Causeway gelding trained by Simon Callaghan. He blew out three furlongs on Pro-Ride Feb. 4 in a bullet :34.80.
$150,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II, Race 7, 2:07 p.m. PST), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Quasicobra (KY), M C Baze, 113, P L Biancone
2. Marsh Side (KY), J Rosario, 119, N D Drysdale
3. Mast Track (KY), M E Smith, 118, J A Shirreffs
4. Philatelist (KY), R Bejarano, 113, H Ascanio
5. Pick Six (KY), V Espinoza, 114, D L Hendricks
6. Slew's Tiznow (KY), J Valdivia, Jr., 114, J Lloyd
7. Dakota Phone (KY), M Garcia, 115, J Hollendorfer
8. Richard's Kid (MD), G K Gomez, 120, B Baffert
9. Giganticus (KY), C Sutherland, 114, S Callaghan
10. Nownownow (KY), J Talamo, 116, P L Biancone
11. Furthest Land (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, M J Maker