La Puente Stakes contender Steelaninch hadn't run in nearly seven months when he finished second in the restricted Academy Road Stakes on March 14 at Santa Anita.
Considering it also was the first race in the United States for the 3-year-old English-bred son of Inchinor, it was an effort that went beyond the call of duty.
"It was a very good race for him," trainer Jim Cassidy said. "The rail was at 30 feet that day, and I think that hurt us."
Cassidy says a stronger pace would help Steelaninch in Saturday's $150,000 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf at Santa Anita. To ensure that, Cassidy entered stablemate Love Is Blind in the race.
"Steelaninch is apt to break a little sharper than he did the first time," said Cassidy, a 57-year-old native of the Bronx and a staunch New York Yankees' fan. "I've got to look at the race and see where I want him to be. I was very happy with the way he closed ground (in the Academy Road), because he'd never done that before. In Europe, he was pretty much on the front end most of the time. I'll run the other horse (Love Is Blind) and make sure it's an honest pace."
Steelaninch has a 4-1-1-2 record from 11 starts, with earnings of $57,231.$150,000 La Puente Stakes, 3-year-olds, 1 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey
1.* Love Is Blind, Mark Johnston
2. Excessive Barb, Martin Pedroza
3. Urban King, Corey Nakatani
4.Our Bobby V., Tyler Baze
5. Slew City Citadel, Pat Valenzuela
6.Singletary, David Flores
7. Just Wonder, Jose Valdivia Jr.
8.* Steelaninch, Victor Espinoza
(*) Jim Cassidy-trained entry
All are assigned 114 pounds except Singletary, who carries 118.