Omega Code wins the San Miguel.

Omega Code wins the San Miguel.

Benoit photo

Santa Anita Race Report (Cont.)

Omega Man

Though the West Coast trek towards the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hasn't begun in earnest yet, the $107,800 San Miguel Stakes (gr. III) on Jan. 12 got the local 3-year-old season officially underway. Don't look for the results to shed any light towards the first Saturday in May--few San Miguel winners aim that high--but Omega Code is one to keep tabs on.

His one-length decision over Only the Best wasn't easy. Only the Best, a Smokester gelding from trainer Brian Lynch's stable, controlled things from the break. Valenzuela kept it tight on the front end, preventing maiden winner Bossanova from a rail move entering the turn. But not even a crafty ride from Valenzuela could stop Omega Code.

Blame a :44.12 half for sealing Only the Best's fate. Martin Pedroza, meanwhile, had Omega Code ready to strike when the splits finally took their toll. Only the Best fought back before Omega Code took over a furlong out. Co-owned by trainer Wesley Ward, Dan Butler, and Mike Moore, the son of Elusive Quality went six furlongs in 1:08.65. He's now won three of five sprinting. b

At the Wire...
More Bobby Frankel news flashes: Empire Maker, last seen in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II), is slated to make his 3-year-old debut in the Feb. 7 Sham Stakes. Meanwhile, the barn's leading handicap horses--Medaglia d'Oro, Milwaukee Brew, and Lido Palace--should return to action in February as well. With an eye towards the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in late March, Frankel has Medaglia d'Oro awaiting the Feb. 1 Strub Stakes (gr. II). Milwaukee Brew will use the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) the following day to prep for a title defense in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), while Lido Palace is being aimed at Gulfstream's Feb. 22 Donn Handicap (gr. I)...Though Pass Rush and Tates Creek took the weekend's biggest events, the one who definitely left 'em raving on Jan. 11 was Ministers Wild Cat. A half-brother to several top-shelf runners, notably Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner War Chant, the son of Deputy Minister looked impressive breaking his maiden at seven furlongs. Bred and owned by Irving and Marjorie Cowan, the 3-year-old colt went a half in :44.77 and only got stronger, finishing up 7 1/2 lengths clear in a gallop. He comes from the barn of Neil Drysdale, who got a promising effort as well from Major Idea. The 3-year-old Cherokee Run filly took the Blue Norther Stakes at a mile on grass for her owner, The Thoroughbred Corp...Trainer Patrick Biancone figured a spin around the turf would help prime Mayakovsky for the nine-furlong Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. Classic at the upcoming Sunshine Millions. The colt's easy win in a one-mile allowance, however, has Biancone pondering the Barretts/CTBA Turf, also at 1 1/8 miles for owner Michael Tabor.

(Chart, Equibase)