Haimish Hy is the likely favorite in the San Luis Rey.

Haimish Hy is the likely favorite in the San Luis Rey.

Benoit Photography

Haimish Hy Finds Right Spot in San Luis Rey

With division stars aiming for Sheema Classic, Hollywood Derby winner is formidable.

With marathon turf division stalwarts Champ Pegasus  and Bourbon Bay aiming for Dubai, Haimish Hy could be the biggest benefactor in the $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita March 20.

The Art Sherman-trained Haimish Hy ran third in the San Luis Obispo Stakes (gr. IIT) at the San Luis Rey distance of 1 1/2 miles, closing from 18 lengths back. Champ Pegasus nosed Bourbon Bay in the Feb. 11 tussle, with Haimish Hy 3 1/4 lengths back in third. The first two are bound for the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) March 26.

“He tried to run with them, and it was his first time going a mile and a half,” said Garrett Gomez, who rode the son of Ecton Park in the San Luis Obispo and retains the mount. “He actually ran a really good race. If he runs back to that, he’ll be super tough.”

Sherman co-owns the 4-year-old colt with Zvika Akin, Richard Franco and Sy Goldstein. The winner of the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) at 11-1 odds Nov. 28 is the 123-pound top weight and he will break from the rail.

Haimish Hy is the likely favorite in the San Luis Rey, which drew eight older horses and will be run as the fourth race on the program with a 2:03 PDT probable post. Also on the program is the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs led by 123-pound high weight California Nectar.

The versatile Haimish Hy has won three of five starts on turf but has also won on synthetic. He has five wins overall from 12 career starts with earnings of $305,980. He charged from seventh in the stretch to win the Hollywood Derby by a neck over Sebastian Flyte.

“He’s got a good turn of foot,” said Gomez, who was also aboard Haimish Hy that day. “He should be all right going a mile and a half as long as I get him in some kind of rhythm. He doesn’t have to be at the back, but sometimes that’s just where he’s at. That’s where he ends up placing himself.”

Also coming out of the San Luis Obispo are the Brazilian-bred Imponente Purse (fourth), Juniper Pass (fifth) and Buenos Dias (sixth).

Imponente Purse, trained by A.C. Avila, came from far out of it and closed five paths wide in the stretch to finish 1 1/4 lengths behind Haimish Hy in the SLO. Chantal Sutherland will ride.

Juniper Pass was just a neck behind Imponente Purse and gains the services of Rafael Bejarano.

New Zealand-bred Dahoud, coming off a 1 1/4-length win in a one-mile allowance race on the turf for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer March 3, presents an interesting possibility with Joel Rosario riding.

The 5-year-old son of Scaredee Cat worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track March 12 in :49 flat.

“The horse ran real well last time,” Hollendorfer said. “He was third in New Zealand going a mile and three-eighths, so it looks like he’ll get a mile and a half.”

Falcon Rock, trained by Simon Callaghan for Michael Tabor, also owns a win over the Santa Anita turf, taking an allowance heat in his first United States start last March. The Irish-bred 6-year-old son of Hawk Wing, runner-up in last summer's Jim Murray Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park, is winless in seven subsequent starts.

Restless Soul, a 7-year-old British-bred mare conditioned by Neil Drysdale for Cloros Bloodstock, defeated females in an allowance test at Santa Anita in January 2009. She has won three of 29 lifetime.

$150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. II, Race 4, 2:03 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/2 MIles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Haimish Hy (KY), G K Gomez, 123, A Sherman
2. Romp (ARG), A Quinonez, 118, K Mulhall
3. Falcon Rock (IRE), B Blanc, 118, S Callaghan
4. Imponente Purse (BRZ), C Sutherland, 118, A C Avila
5. Buenos Dias (IRE), M A Pedroza, 118, R L McAnally
6. Restless Soul (GB), J Talamo, 118, N D Drysdale
7. Juniper Pass (KY), R Bejarano, 118, T R Bell, II
8. Dahoud (NZ), J Rosario, 118, J Hollendorfer
Blinkers Off: Juniper Pass