Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Borrego returns to action in early March.

Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Borrego returns to action in early March.

Skip Dickstein

Borrego Aimed for Big 'Cap; No Prep Race

(from Santa Anita notes)
Borrego, who vaulted to the top of the handicap ranks last year with surprise victories in consecutive $1 million races on opposite coasts, will skip a prep race and train up to the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) at 1 ¼ miles on March 4, trainer Beau Greely said.

Borrego last raced on Oct. 29, finishing a disappointing 10th at odds of 5-2 in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Prior to that, he won both the Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park in a pair of scintillating performances.

"I gave him a little time after the Breeders' Cup, and there's no other reason to start him at a mile and a quarter other than he runs well fresh," said Greely. He and his brother John recently purchased a 55% interest in the 5-year-old son of El Prado, who has a 5-6-2 record from 20 starts with earnings of $2,052,090.

Greely said he didn't want to rush Borrego, who was a finalist for the Ecipse Award as the nation's top older horse in 2005, to make the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles next Sunday. "It's a long year. That's the thinking behind running in the Santa Anita Handicap after such a lengthy layoff, plus he runs well at Santa Anita. He's won a couple races here, and he was third last year in the Big 'Cap. He'll do plenty in his works in the morning."

The 34-year-old trainer says he's had an opportunity to reflect on Borrego's past season.

"It was a wonderful year, absolutely," Greely said. "He had a great year. Unfortunately, he didn't get to run (his race) in the Classic. We scoped him afterwards and he had some mucous. He didn't show up that day. I don't know whether he bounced or he was getting a little sick at the time. It's was just one of those things, but it was a good year all the same."