One of the nation's premier turf horses returns to action Sunday when Brazilian-bred Redattore carries high weight of 122 pounds in the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park.
A field of nine older runners is entered in the 1 1/8-mile San Gabriel.
From the powerhouse barn of Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, Redattore has won 14 of 31 starts for earnings of $1,709,883.
Mandella, coincidentally, won the 1995 and 1996 runnings of the San Gabriel with another Brazilian flash, Romarin, who regularly beat up on middle-distance turf runners with his exceptional speed.
Redattore has won four of seven in 2003 including a three-quarters of a length triumph in the $400,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 29. In his lone start on Santa Anita's turf course this year, the 8-year-old Redattore came from slightly off the pace for a one-length victory in the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile.
Alex Solis has the mount on Redattore, who will break from the far outside.
Blue Steller and Denied are next on the weights at 116 pounds each. The former is from the barn of three-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Bobby Frankel and finished fourth in this event last year. The latter has been very consistent this year for trainer Jeff Mullins, recording four wins, two seconds and two thirds from eight starts, but takes a step up in class for the San Gabriel. French Polo makes his United States debut for Craig Lewis, and the trainer is keen to learn what he's got on his hands.
"It's hard to get a real bead on him," Lewis said of the 3-year-old French-bred gelding who last raced in France on Sept. 30. "That's why we're running here. We'll see where he fits. We're getting a line on his class. He acts like a horse that wants a lot of real estate, but he's trained good, he travels good and we'll see what happens."
French Polo, a son of French Glory owned by Al and Sandee Kirkwood, has a 5-3-0 record from nine career starts, with earnings of $79,474.
$150,000 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT), 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Blue Steller, Corey Nakatani, 116
2. Trial By Jury, David Flores, 114
3. Maranilla, Kent Desormeaux, 113
4. Continental Red, Gary Stevens, 115
5. French Polo, Emile Ramsammy, 112
6. Sign of The Wolf, Mike Smith, 113
7. Denied, Victor Espinoza, 116
8. Fateful Dream, Patrick Valenzuela, 115
9. Redattore, Alex Solis, 122