On the sidelines since fading to fifth in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) last summer, Compari returns to action in the $100,000 San Simeon Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Santa Anita hillside turf course April 16.
The speedy gelding, a 5-year-old California homebred son of Redattore owned by Harris Farms, John Nicoletti, and Don Valpredo, won six consecutive races between 2009 and last year--all in front-running style. He captured his only start on the 6 1/2-furlong hillside in the Sensational Star Handicap in January 2010, and is four-for-four on the Santa Anita lawn. His wins include the Budweiser Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) just over a year ago.
The San Simeon is one of two graded stakes to begin the final weekend of the Santa Anita season, sharing the card with the Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) for older older fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on the turf. The San Simeon is race 3 with a 1:31 p.m. PDT probable post.
Compari's winning streak ended in last spring's Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) when he drew the far outside post and was forced to steady early on the final turn en route to a seventh-place finish. In the Hollywood Gold Cup July 10, Compari set the pace and continued to lead past mid-stretch but weakened while racing between foes late.
Trainer Marty Jones gives the mount to Alonso Quinonez, who has not been aboard Compari since the bay broke his maiden on the Santa Anita turf by nearly four lengths in March 2009. They will leave from the far outside in the field of six older horses. Compari has won six of nine races in his career and has $432,640 in earnings.
The main competition is the sharp 4-year-old gelding Regally Ready, who carries top weight of 120 pounds, one more than Compari.
Trained by Steve Asmussen for Vinery Stables, Regally Ready seeks his third straight victory over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. The son of More Than Ready has captured three of his last four starts since moving to the turf from the Polytrack at Woodbine, where he began his career.
Regally Ready took the Joe Hernandez Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths over the hillside course March 18. With Corey Nakatani out of town for the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), Mike Smith takes over in the saddle. Regally Ready shows earnings of $237,978 from a 5-2-3 record in 11 career starts.
Supreme Summit, a fast-closing fourth in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) last November at Churchill Downs, will make his turf debut in the San Simeon. An earner of $353,100 from a 3-3-1 record in 14 races, he will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano at 118 pounds.
The 5-year-old son of Cactus Ridge is trained by Mike Puype for the Joseph Lacombe Stable. He has had just one start since the Breeders' Cup, failing to handle a wet fast surface in the San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs on Feb. 19 and finishing last of six. Supreme Summit, starting from the rail, wears blinkers for the San Simeon.
Camp Victory steps back into stakes competition after Mike Mitchell claimed him for $40,000 two starts back. The 4-year-old Forest Camp gelding returned to win an off-the-turf dash for optional claimers at 6 1/2 furlongs March 27.
Gallant Son, 2 1/4 lengths behind Regally Ready when third in the Joe Hernandez, and Victory Pete complete the field.
$100,000 San Simeon Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 3, 1:31 p.m.) 4 & Up, About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Supreme Summit (KY), R Bejarano, 118, M Puype
2. Camp Victory (VA), J Talamo, 114, M R Mitchell
3. Regally Ready (KY), M E Smith, 120, S M Asmussen
4. Gallant Son (KY), V Espinoza, 116, F Lucarelli
5. Victory Pete (FL), C Sutherland, 116, A Barba
6. Compari (CA), A Quinonez, 119, M F Jones
Blinkers On: Supreme Summit