Leading trainer Doug O'Neill saddles two contenders in Sunday's contentious Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for older sprinters at Santa Anita.Less than a week after breaking the Santa Anita record for wins at a meeting with his 48th victory, O'Neill looks to extend his record with Perfect Moon and Harvard Avenue, part of a field of 10 for the $200,000-added fixture.
The 37-year-old trainer had 216 starters through Thursday, nearly twice that of any other trainer. He's also got two starters in Saturday's Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) as he tries to add to his total of nine stakes victories at the meeting.
For the 6 1/2-furlong Potrero Grande, Perfect Moon and Harvard Avenue will have to be at their best in a contentious race. The field includes San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) winner Hasty Kris; Ice Wynnd Fire, a comebacker from the barn of Bobby Frankel; grade I winner Kela, who was second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) last year; and Saint Afleet, winner of the Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) on Jan. 23.
Hasty Kris, trained by John Sadler, is an 8-year-old Florida-bred gelding with a 9-8-5 record from 42 career starts. He has six wins and six seconds at Santa Anita.
Ice Wynnd Fire, owned by John and Jerry Amerman, is making his first start since Sept. 18 when the 4-year-old gelded son of Northern Afleet finished second in the Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at one mile on a sloppy track at Belmont Park. He has been working smartly for his return.
Kela, a 7-year-old horse trained by Mike Mitchell, has earned more than $1 million with an 8-6-1 record from 26 starts. He was a distant third in the Deputy Minister Handicap (gr. III) on Feb. 5 at Gulfstream Park on a track Mitchell says the horse did not fancy.
Saint Afleet scored a 7-1 upset in the Palos Verdes under Pat Valenzuela, who on Thursday tied Tyler Baze for the Santa Anita riding lead at 51 wins. $200,000-added Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), 4 & up, 6 1/2 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Onebadshark, Chance Rollins, 114
2. Ice Wynnd Fire, Alex Solis, 115
3. Perfect Moon, Corey Nakatani, 116
4. Kela, Tyler Baze, 118
5. Jungle Prince, Jon Court, 114
6. Harvard Avenue, Garrett Gomez, 115
7. Roi Charmant, Victor Espinoza, 113
8. Saint Afleet, Pat Valenzuela, 118
9. Hasty Kris, Rene Douglas, 117
10. Rushin to Altar, Gary Stevens, 115