Ralph and Aury Todd's homebred The Tin Man carved up the field in Saturday's $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT), romping to an easy front-running victory on a yielding Santa Anita turf course.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Affirmed, who was ridden by Mike Smith, established a clear lead over Continental Red shortly out of the gate in the 1 1/2-mile grass test. He maintained at least a length advantage every step of the way, and was leading by about four as the field reached the stretch. From there, he drew off in the stretch to win by 9 1/2 lengths over Special Matter.
Harrisand was third, 1 1/2 length back, followed by Lucky Molar and Continental Red, who was eased in the stretch and finished last in the five-horse field. Hannibal Lad and Royal Gem scratched. The final time on the yielding turf course was 2:31 1/5.
The Tin Man set fractions of :51 for the opening half-mile, 1:15 3/5 for the six furlongs and 1:41 for the mile.
"With age, he's really gotten professional," said Smith. "I just mainly stayed out of his way and only asked him to run for about a sixteenth of a mile there."
Trainer Richard Mandella said The Tin Man would likely run in the San Luis Rey (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita on Mar. 15.
"We might back off of him later and point him for the fall and the Breeders' Cup," he said.
The Tin Man, who won nearly $600,000 last year with five victories, including the Hirsch Memorial (gr. IT), was coming off a head loss to stablemate Johar in the San Marcos (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita on Jan. 20.
Lightly raced at 3, The Tin Man has now collected seven career wins in 14 starts and banked $783,620 with Saturday's $120,000 winning share.
Sent off at 1-2, The Tin Man paid $3, $2.40 and $2.10. Special Matter, ridden by Tyler Baze, returned $4 and $2.20. Harrisand, with Pat Valenzuela aboard, paid $2.20 for the show. The $2 exacta was $14.40.