Master David, a distant second to Read the Footnotes in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) Nov. 30, heads a field of nine entered for Saturday's $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II), a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
Master David, who will be ridden by John Velazquez, makes his first start for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Bobby Frankel. Brian Meehan previously conditioned him.
The Santa Catalina is the first stepping stone toward the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3.
With Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Action This Day skipping the race in favor of the Sham Stakes Feb. 8, Saturday's starters include at least five horses – Saltire, Harvard Avenue, Lucky Pulpit, Mambo Train and Preachinatthebar – who need to show considerable improvment to win.
Master David, who was 3 3/4 lengths behind Read the Footnotes at Aqueduct, figures to get his sternest challenge from St Averil, who was runner-up to Lion Heart in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) by a similar margin Dec. 20. Tyler Baze rides St Averil, who starts from the eight post, one slot to the outside of Master David.
That's an Outrage, who was another length behind St Averil while finishing third in the Futurity, returns with Gary Stevens in the saddle.
Multiple stakes winner Perfect Moon, who captured the Best Pal Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar and the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) during the summer, seeks to regain his winning form with Victor Espinoza aboard.
Of the remaining entrants, Lucky Pulpit and Mambo Train have done their best running on the turf.
After a seventh-place showing in the Norfolk (gr. II) in the fall, Lucky Pulpit was second in the Pinjara and third in the Generous on the grass for trainer Clifford Sise.
Mambo Train won his debut on the grass, then ran sixth in the Norfolk and 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) after pressing an early quick pace. He returned to the lawn recently with a win over an optional allowance field, but was disqualified and placed second for causing interference in the stretch.
Harvard Avenue is a minor stakes winner at Emerald Downs while Saltire ran sixth in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Nov. 29. Preachinatthebar won a maiden race in his fourth start and is making his stakes debut for trainer Bob Baffert.$150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Saltire (PA), 113, Emile Ramsammy
2. That's an Outrage (KY), 113, Gary L. Stevens
3. Preachinatthebar (KY), 113, David R. Flores
4. Harvard Avenue (KY), 113, Alex O. Solis
5. Perfect Moon (MD), 117, Victor Espinoza
6. Lucky Pulpit (KY), 115, Patrick A. Valenzuela
7. Master David (KY), 113, John R. Velazquez
8. St Averil (KY), 113, Tyler Baze
9. Mambo Train (KY), 113, Jose Valdivia, Jr.