With a shake of the reins from Victor Espinoza, the 7-year-old Beat Hollow gelding lengthened stride from fifth at mid-stretch, inhaling opponents in the final furlong for a visually impressive 1 1/4-length triumph over 19-1 longshot Si Sage. Lucayan rallied from last to take third, a neck behind the runner-up.
The winner was well clear of trouble in the final sixteenth, where fourth-place finisher Segway, ridden by Flavien Prat, forced Power Foot to steady sharply under Edwin Maldonado and also impeded a rallying Temeraine. After an inquiry, track stewards disqualified Segway to 10th, elevating Dubai You X Y Z from fifth to fourth.
"From the half-mile pole I knew he was full of run, he was dragging me around," Espinoza said of the Vagabond Shoes. "I was just waiting. I didn't want to go too early and I just kept looking for the stretch so I could finally let him run and let him stretch his legs. He ran just like he was supposed to.
"When you know you're going to have a lot of run still at the end, because the horse is giving you so much power, it's easy to time. You can feel the power and you know you have a ton of gears left."
Segway pressed Slim Shadey, who laid down a moderate pace for the 1 1/4-mile distance, posting a half mile in :47.50, six furlongs in 1:11.53, and the mile in 1:35.38. Those two battled after entering the stretch neck and neck but Vagabond Shoes, seventh at the quarter pole, charged past for the victory. Si Sage advanced between foes to take second, edging Lucayan.
With the San Marcos triumph, 5-2 shot Vagabond Shoe's record improves to eight wins, five seconds, and three thirds from 29 lifetime starts and $665,489 in purse earnings.
Multiple grade I winner Jeranimo raced in last place most of the way before finishing sixth as the 7-2 second choice making his first attempt at the 10-furlong distance on turf.
"He just didn't fire today," trainer Mike Pender said.
Trained by John Sadler for Peter and Kosta Hronis of Delano, Ca., Vagabond Shoes was starting for the first time since a fifth-place finish to Magician in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The race was the culmination of an eight-start season, in which he won the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) from Lucayan and finished second in two graded races to Jeranimo in the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) and to Indy Point in the John Henry Turf Championship (gr. IIT).
The San Marcos win was the first of back-to-back graded stakes wins on the card for Sadler, who sent out Candy Boy to capture the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II).
Vagabond Shoes was bred in Ireland by Almagro De Actividades Comerciales S A. His dam is the winning Singspiel mare Atiza.
Vagabond Shoes returned $7.40, $4.40 and $3.20 while keying a $79.80 exacta with Si Sage, who paid $15.40 and $8.80. Lucayan paid $3.80.