Shadow of Illinois wins the San Simeon.

Shadow of Illinois wins the San Simeon.

Benoit Photo

Shadow of Illinois Shows the Way in San Simeon

Edited press release
Shadow of Illinois, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding, won the $100,000 San Simeon Handicap (gr. IIIT) under Mark Guidry on the hillside turf course Monday to give trainer Anthony Saavedra his first-ever stakes win at Santa Anita Park and his first graded stakes win in Southern California on the closing day of the meet.

Shadow of Illinois lay fifth in the field of six behind pacesetters Royal Price and McCann's Mojave in the early stages of the San Simeon at about 6 1/2 furlongs on a firm turf course. Each runner was in striking distance at the top of the stretch with four horses head and head on the lead, but Shadow of Illinois unleashed a strong closing kick even though Guidry dropped his whip in midstretch. Shadow of Illinois won by a length in 1:12.62.

Geronimo, the 5-2 favorite ridden by Corey Nakatani, was second. Golden Arrow was third under Victor Espinoza. Lazzeri, McCann's Mojave, and Royal Price completed the order of finish.

It was the second stakes win of the meet for Guidry, a 45-year-old newcomer to Southern California. It came nine days after his first, a 30-1 upset aboard Buzzards Bay in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 9.

"She ran a great race, even though I dropped my stick," Guidry said. "They showed no consideration to us at all, which allowed me to settle him back, but Tony told me not to worry, he's got a tremendous punch."

"Coming around the turn and crossing the dirt I got real confident and sure enough he had him in full flight," said the 39-year-old Saavedra, who has been a trainer for 18 years. "I didn't even notice him losing his stick until I saw the replay and he was spanking him on the neck (with his hand). But this horse is just a good colt."

Shadow of Illinois carried 114 pounds and paid $16.60, $7.40 and $3 as the longest shot in the race. Geronimo carried 117 and paid $3.60 and $2.40. Golden Arrow toted 116 and returned $2.60.

It was the fourth win in 19 lifetime starts and the second straight for Shadow of Illinois, who is owned by Dave and Ella Sivage of Scottsdale, Ariz. The son of Illinois Storm was bred by Barbara E. Millard.

Patrick Valenzuela won two races Monday including a victory in the final race of the meet to raise his total to 69 wins as he took his second Santa Anita riding championship. Valenzuela was already assured the title before Monday after a flurry of wins last week including back-to-back four-win days. He finished 11 in front of second-place Rene Douglas. Valenzuela's first riding title came in 2002-2003 with 94 wins.

Trainer Doug O'Neill finished a record-setting meet with 54 victories. O'Neill broke the record of 47, previously held by Bob Baffert and Gary Jones, with two weeks to spare.

(Chart, Equibase)