Unusual Suspect and High Court Drama, both disappointing in the San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf March 20, are entered right back in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III) on the Pro-Ride main track a week later.
They are part of an eight-horse field signed on for the 1 1/2-mile test of older horses. Both share the top weight assignment of 117 pounds with recent British import Philatelist. The latter finished a fast-closing neck behind Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) entrant Richard's Kid in the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 7, his first United States start.
Trainer Barry Abrams is known for quick turnarounds, so Unusual Suspect's presence is perhaps not as surprising as High Court Drama, who was supplemented to the Tokyo City Cup by trainer Doug O'Neill for owner Christopher McHale. Both horses have extensive experience on synthetic tracks.
Unusual Suspect never threatened in the 12-furlong San Luis Rey, trailing the field for a mile before rallying mildly while four wide to finish fifth, 4 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Bourbon Bay.
A homebred for the Abramses' family, the 6-year-old California-bred son of Unusual Heat is a lifetime earner of $772,850 with eight wins from 44 starts. Prior to the San Luis Reay, Unusual Suspect posted a runner-up finish to Bourbon Bay in the San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT), also contested at 12 furlongs.
Unusual Suspect won the Cougar II Handicap at the Tokyo City distance on Del Mar's Polytrack last August and owns a 2-1-1 mark in 13 starts on synthetic tracks. Regular rider Alonzo Quinonez retains the mount.
Irish-bred High Court Drama had a stalking trip along the inside in the San Luis Rey before dropping back on the final turn. He was eased in the stretch after angling out for the drive under Michael Baze.
The 5-year-old son of Theatrical debuted in the U.S. last fall. He began at Hollywood Park with a win in an optional claiming allowance on the turf followed by a runner-up showing behind Mast Track in the Native Diver Handicap (gr. II) on the Cushion Track Dec. 12.
High Court Drama, who will be ridden by Chantal Sutherland, started 2010 with a second-place effort in the San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) on Santa Anita's grass course Jan. 24. The bay has won two of seven starts on synthetic tracks, mostly in his native country, with three seconds.
Both could follow Johanna Louise Glen-Teven's Philatelist in the wagering after the strong late kick he displayed in the 1 1/8-mile San Antonio, in which he was third at odds of 18-1. A Kentucky-bred 6-year-old son of Rahy, Philatelist won five of 15 races on synthetic tracks, mostly in England. Humberto Ascanio now trains the bay horse, who is ridden by runaway meeting leader Rafael Bejarano.
Two 4-year-olds in the Tokyo City seek turnarounds after being overmatched in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 6: Team Green and partners' Rendezvous, who finished fifth in the Big 'Cap for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and Juddmonte Farms' Eagle Poise, 13th for trainer Bill Mott.
$100,000 Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 4:07 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Tap It Light (CA), T Baze, 114, M R Mitchell
2. Eagle Poise (KY), M E Smith, 115, W I Mott
3. Unusual Suspect (CA), A Quinonez, 117, B Abrams
4. High Court Drama (IRE), C Sutherland, 117, D F O'Neill
5. Philatelist (KY), R Bejarano, 117, H Ascanio
6. Quindici Man (KY), M Garcia, 116, C A Lewis
7. Rendezvous (KY), J Rosario, 116, J Hollendorfer
8. Snowmaster (KY), J Valdivia, Jr., 114, H G Motion