Returning to his favored distance, Slim Shadey will try to win the San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) for a second straight year on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
In his seasonal debut on Jan. 13 at Santa Anita, Slim Shadey finished off the board in the San Gabriel Stakes (gr. IIT), a 1 1/8 mile turf race. Trainer Simon Callaghan believes the 5-year-old Val Royal gelding will improve when he stretches out to 1 1/4 miles in the San Marcos. Slim Shadey's two stakes victories have come at 1 1/4 miles on the Santa Anita turf.
"The San Gabriel just didn't set up well for him," Callahan said of Slim Shadey's sixth-place finish as the 3-2 favorite.
In the San Marcos, the Phil Cunningham homebred will pick up Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens, who is looking for his first stakes victory during his latest comeback. Stevens, who has had a bit of "seconditis" this season with two wins and nine seconds from 28 starts, worked Slim Shadey five furlongs in 1:01 on Feb. 2 on the Santa Anita main track.
While Callahan hopes for the return of the real Slim Shadey, Racing Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally hopes Pozo de Luna's Interaction can break through with his first stakes victory in North America. The 2010 Argentine Horse of the Year placed in three graded stakes in Southern California last season, closing out the year with a runner-up finish to Grandeur in the Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park.
In what would be a rare turf start, multiple grade I winner Richard's Kid has been entered in the San Marcos. The 8-year-old Lemon Drop Kid gelding has made just one previous career turf start, finishing off the board in the 2009 Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) at Del Mar.
$150,000 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 9, approximate post time 4:38 p.m. PST), 4YOs & Up, 1 1/4 miles (turf, rail at 8 feet)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Iteraction (ARG), J. Talamo, 118, R. McAnally
2. Juniper Pass (KY), R. Bejarano, 118, T. Bell II
3. All Squared Away (KY), G. Gomez, 118, P. Miller
4. Temple's Door (KY), T. Baze, 118, J. Mullins
5. Richard's Kid (MD), E. Maldonado, 118, D. O'Neill
6. Dreamcatcher (KY), D. Flores, 118, J. Sadler
7. Golden Itiz (KY), V. Espinoza, 118, R. Ellis
8. Bridge of Gold (KY), J. Leparoux, 118, P. Biancone
9. Fast Track (KY), O. Mojica, 118, M. Conlon
10. Smart Ellis (KY), F. Prat, 118, R. Mandella
11. Fire With Fire (KY), B. Blanc, 118, J. Hollendorfer
12. Slim Shadey (GB), G. Stevens, 123, S. Callaghan
13. Huntsville (CA), C. Nakatani, 118, B. Abrams