Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) candidate Borrego should be nicknamed "The Rainmaker."
Five of the last seven times the sizable chestnut son of El Prado ran, the track came up "off." That included a race Feb. 11 at Santa Anita, when as the 7-10 favorite, Borrego rallied smartly from last under Tyler Baze to win an optional claiming race by two lengths. It was his first start in nearly four months.
"You know, you enter him, it rains," said trainer C. Beau Greely. "That's the bottom line. Louisiana, Arkansas, California – when he runs, it rains."
The 4-year-old Borrego was second in last year's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on a muddy track, 10th in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on a sloppy track and second in the Super Derby (gr. II) on a muddy track. He was ninth in the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) on a "good' turf course and won Friday's race on a sloppy track. The unprecedented spate of recent wet weather forced Greely to alter plans for Borrego, who could still make the $1 million Big 'Cap at 10 furlongs on March 5.
"I was trying to get him ready for the 4-year-old races (Strub series) and it just didn't pan out because of the weather," Greely said. "We knew we had a long year so we took our time. He's always been a nice horse. We're looking at the Big 'Cap and the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II). I'll see how he comes out of this race and I'll talk it over with my partners."
The $500,000 New Orleans, a 1 1/8-mile event, is at Fair Grounds on March 12.A Kentucky-bred colt, Borrego has a 3-5-0 record from 13 starts with earnings of $549,090.