Came Home drew off through the Santa Anita stretch to win Saturday's $150,000 San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) by four lengths over maiden Jack's Silver. Pacesetter Werblin was nipped at the wire for second-place money, but finished three lengths clear of Popular. Line Rider and Mighty David completed the order of finish.
As Werblin, Mighty David and Popular dueled for the lead, Came Home maintained inside position while remaining in close attendance to the pace. Mighty David dropped out first leaving Werblin and Popular to continue the battle. Chris McCarron and Came Home shuffled back a bit and then re-engaged the leaders with an outside run at the top of the stretch. As Popular wilted in the lane, Came Home engaged Werblin and went by that one in the final furlong en route to the win.
"He broke very well, and showed his usual speed. But he was so relaxed down the backside that he was giving me signals that, if I wanted to ease him back, he was gonna let me," explained McCarron. "It worked out really well. I would have had to use quite a bit of (his) energy to stay in there. Once I get to the turn, if I'm in there, I'm going to have to run all the way around the turn. So I wanted to be in position to sit. The best way to do that was to ease back a little bit and he responded like a pro. He's quite nice."
I told Chris (McCarron) to feel comfortable with him, because in the mornings he had been relaxing (during workouts)," said winning trainer Paco Gonzalez. "If you want him to go :26 (a quarter-mile in 26 seconds) in the morning, he goes. But I told him if he thinks the pace is too quick and you want to take back, that's fine. But I thought he was going to take back a little sooner, like at the five-eighths pole. But he took back close to the three-eighths pole. But Chris probably knew he had a lot of horse. At the quarter pole, I was happy."
The 7-10 favorite, Came Home returned $3.40, $3, and $2.10. Jack's Silver paid $13.60 and $2.10 and completed the $1 exacta worth $34.60. Werblin paid $2.10 to show.
Came Home is owned by Will Farish, John Goodman, John Toffan, et al. and has now won four of five career starts, with the lone loss coming in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). As a juvenile, the son of Gone West won the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) and the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III). Toffan and Trudy McCaffery bred Came Home from the Clever Trick mare Nice Assay, making the colt a half-brother to A. P. Assay. The earner of $301,440 was twice entered in public auction and failed to meet his reserve on both occasions.
Came Home earned $90,000 for the win, his fourth in five career starts.
Gonzalez said, "If everything comes out fine, we'll go in the San Rafael (gr. II, March 2)."
Trainer James Cassidy said Jack's Silver may also proceed to the San Rafael.
"We got stopped pretty good on the grass time and the maiden long races won't fill, so we ran him in here to see if we had anything, and here we are," the conditioner said. "I'd like to break his maiden, but we'll probably look at the San Rafael. He's got some talent." (Chart, Equibase