Lightly raced Silentio, a stylish winner of his stakes debut to begin the Santa Anita Park season in late December, will be part of a packed starting gate for his first start as a 4-year-old in the $150,000 Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT).
The one-mile turf test attracted a huge field of 14. It will go as the ninth on the Saturday program with a scheduled post time of 4:38 p.m. PST. The Arcadia is one of three grade II races on the Santa Anita card.
A robust colt sired by Japanese-bred Silent Name , Silentio has been limited by injury to just four starts so far, winning three of them. Wertheimer & Frere's dark bay homebred, out of the A.P. Indy mare Listen A. P., is trained by Gary Mandella.
Silentio had just one start as a 2-year-old, breaking his maiden at first asking while traversing one mile on the Santa Anita turf. Eleven months later, he returned to action last September with a first-level optional claiming victory. That was followed by a solid third in a second-level allowance optional claimer at nine furlongs.
In his first stakes appearance, the one-mile Sir Beaufort (gr. IIT) Dec. 26, he overcame his far outside draw under Rafael Bejarano to roll late for a half-length triumph.
"There's no secret," said Mandella afterward. "He's a good horse. The secret is to have a good horse and that's what this is. The only thing I'll take credit for is we gave him a lot of time for his injury as a 2-year-old. He and came out of a race with activity in his tibia that would have turned into fractures. But the bigger thing was he had some cysts in his hocks. (They were) dug out surgically and we gave him a lot of time to get over it.
"When you look at him, it's impressive he won as a 2-year-old because he's a 17-hands horse, which he was last year. Last year, he weighed probably 1,100 pounds and this year, he weighs 1,200 pounds. The time allowed him to grow into himself and become a good horse and I hope for even better things to come if I get lucky."
Bejarano sticks around for Silentio's first try against older opponents. Silentio shoulders high weight of 123 pounds and drew post 7.
There are two European multiple group winners in the Arcadia, Vagabond Shoes and Strong Suit, a four-time Argentine grade I winner in Suggestive Boy, and a pair of older U.S. graded stakes winners, Willyconker and Wilkinson.
Hronis Racing's Vagabond Shoes is a 6-year-old Irish-bred gelding now in the barn of John Sadler. The son of Beat Hollow was last seen finishing third in a group III event in Germany and has a pair of group III victories in France to his credit. Julien Leparoux takes over on Vagabond Shoes, who drew post 3 and races on Lasix for the first time.
Strong Suit, now trained by Simon Callaghan, drew poorly in the far outside post for his second United States start, as did Suggestive Boy, one slot to his inside for trainer Ron McAnally.
An Arkansas-bred 5-year-old son of Rahy, Qatar Racing's Strong Suit ran 10th in the 2011 Breeders' Cup MIle (gr. IT), a race in which he never had a chance after being checked early, rank, and in tight. This time, star British rider Jamie Spencer will try to overcome the wide draw with a horse that recorded back-to-back group II wins in Great Britain in 2011. In his most recent start Sept. 15, Strong Suit was fourth as the favorite in the OLBG Park Stakes (Eng-II) at Doncaster.
"We've had the horse about five months and given him time," Callaghan said. "He's been working very well and he's a very good European import. He's going to be pretty tough in this race."
Pozo de Luna's Suggestive Boy finished seventh in his most recent start, the Breeders' Cup Mile Nov. 3 at Santa Anita, after hopping at the start and prompting the pace from second. He wound up less than six lengths behind the victorious Horse of the Year Wise Dan, who set a course record of 1:31.78.
Suggestive Boy was second in his United States debut in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) last June at Betfair Hollywood Park and took the Wickerr Stakes, also at one mile, on the Del Mar sod in his next start. Joe Talamo, who was aboard for that tally, regains the mount.
The speedy Chosen Miracle, from the Jerry Hollendorfer barn, figures to set the pace from the outside and could prove to be difficult to catch. The 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper tired to third in the final furlong of the 1 1/8-mile San Gabriel Stakes (gr. IIT) after leading all the way Jan. 13.
E. K. Gaylord's Wilkinson came off the bench following a 13-month layoff last May to capture the one-mile American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood for trainer Jeff Mullins, but went to the sidelines once again after that. He has had one start since, finishing fourth in the off-the-turf Daytona Stakes (gr. III) on a wet fast track at Santa Anita Dec. 29.
A winner of last year’s Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) on the Santa Anita turf, Irish-bred Willyconker has been the beaten favorite in his last two races, both turf allowance affairs at 1 1/16 miles and one mile, respectively.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, 6-year-old gelding Willyconker will get a new rider in Kevin Krigger. A winner of the Kilroe from slightly off the pace, Willyconker has also run very well on the lead and has an outstanding 5-3-1 mark from 11 starts at one mile on turf.
$150,000 Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 9, 4:38 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Klisz (KY), M E Smith, 118, M A Ewing
2. Forest Mouse (KY), E A Maldonado, 118, H Dominguez
3. Vagabond Shoes (IRE), J R Leparoux, 118, J W Sadler
4. Tribal Tribute (CA), G L Stevens, 118, T McCanna
5. Sebastian Flyte (GB), A Delgadillo, 118, B D Cecil
6. Akkadian (KY), G K Gomez, 118, J C Canani
7. Silentio (KY), R Bejarano, 123, G Mandella
8. Willyconker (IRE), K Krigger, 120, D F O'Neill
9. Key Decision (ARG), V Espinoza, 118, A C Avila
10. Clubhouse Ride (KY), A T Gryder, 118, C A Lewis
11. Wilkinson (KY), M A Pedroza, 120, J Mullins
12. Chosen Miracle (FL), T Baze, 118, J Hollendorfer
13. Suggestive Boy (ARG), J Talamo, 118, R L McAnally
14. Strong Suit (ARK), J P Spencer, 118, S Callaghan