Just Like Dad: Bienamado Wins San Marcos

From Santa Anita
Bienamado asserted his class in the stretch and earned a victory Saturday in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes on the turf at Santa Anita Park.

In winning the same race his father won at Santa Anita in 1994, Bienamado, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Bien Bien, paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Chris McCarron rode the winner at 122 pounds for trainer Paco Gonzalez and owners Trudy McCaffery, John Toffan and Robert Sangster.

McCarron, Gonzalez, McCaffery and Toffan also teamed up to take the grade II San Marcos with Bien Bien in '94.

McCarron now has 220 career stakes wins at Santa Anita. The 45-year-old Hall of Famer ranks third all-time behind Bill Shoemaker, 260 stakes wins, and Laffit Pincay Jr., 244 in Santa Anita stakes wins.

Bienamado has won four of five starts in the United States -- all in stakes -- and has a 6-3-0 record from 12 starts, including races in Great Britain, Ireland and Canada. The San Marcos winner's share, $90,000, increased Bienamado's earnings to $811,009.

Kerrygold, David Flores riding at 116 pounds, finished second and paid $8 and $4.60. It was three-quarters of a length back to Northern Quest, Victor Espinoza up at 122 pounds, and a $3.20 show payoff. Falcon Flight, Self Feeder, Tanaasa and Persianlux completed the order of finish.

Bienamado led through fractions of :24 3/5, :50 3/5, 1:15 3/5 and 1:39 3/5. The leisurely pace allowed Bienamado to dig in through the stretch, especially when Northern Quest offered a bold challenge.

"On top of all the talent Bienamado's got, he's very, very generous," McCarron said. "He loves to run."

Gonzalez said immediate plans for Bienamado include either the San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 17, or a $2-million race in Dubai, United Emirates, in March.

(Chart, Equibase)