Fire With Fire, winner of the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) March 22, will bid for a third consecutive win April 25 in an intriguing field for the $100,000 Last Tycoon Stakes (gr. IIIT), the feature race on opening day of Santa Anita's first-ever spring meet.
Formerly run as the Inglewood Handicap at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park, the 1 1/8-mile Last Tycoon attracted a half-dozen entrants, including stakes-winning sprinter Lakerville, who has never won beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.
Owned by David Heerensperger and trained by Neil Drysdale, Fire With Fire came from off the pace to win the one-mile Cotton Fitzsimmons Handicap on turf Jan. 18 at Turf Paradise and took the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey in gate-to wire-fashion under Tyler Baze, who returns for the mount on the 6-year-old Distorted Humor gelding.
Lakerville demonstrated a tremendous late kick when second, beaten a half-length in San Simeon Stakes (gr. IIIT) April 13 at Santa Anita and will be asked to stretch out from 6 1/2 furlongs.
Trained, owned and co-bred by Barry Abrams, the 6-year-old son of Unusual Heat returned from a 17 1/2-month layoff to win the 6 1/2-furlong turf Clockers' Corner Stakes Jan. 26, and he'll be making his fifth start of the year in the Last Tycoon.
J. W. Singer's Joelito will try to go one better from his runner-up finish in the one-mile Thunder Road Stakes on turf April 6 at Santa Anita.
Although he ran from off the pace in the Thunder Road, the 4-year-old Rock Hard Ten colt has plenty of speed if needed. Joelito is on the improve for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and boasts an overall mark of 3-3-0 from 10 career starts.
Along with Joelito, it could be up to John Sadler's Spring Up to try and pressure Fire With Fire early. Drawn outside, Spring Up enters after an off-the-pace win in a second condition allowance going a mile on turf March 30 at Santa Anita, but the 4-year-old Spring At Last colt laid close to a lively pace when winning a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance five starts back Oct. 25 at the Arcadia, Calif. track.
Stronach Stables' homebred Rookie Sensation comes off a close second, beaten a head, in a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance at Santa Anita. A 4-year-old colt by Unbridled's Song, he lacked room from the quarter pole to the eighth pole and should be very tough with a clean trip. A close fifth after showing the way three starts back in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Dec. 1, he will be looking for a fast early pace.
Chilean Horse of the Year Quick Casablanca, also a group I winner in Argentina, makes his first start of the year after finishing fifth in the Slew o' Gold Stakes at Aqueduct Nov. 17 for previous trainer Christophe Clement. The son of Until Sundown makes his first start for trainer Ron McAnally.
$100,000 Last Tycoon Stakes (gr. IIIT, approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT), 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer