Aristocratic and jockey Rafael Bejarano win the San Pedro by 4 1/2 lengths

Aristocratic and jockey Rafael Bejarano win the San Pedro by 4 1/2 lengths

Benoit Photo

Aristocratic Speeds to San Pedro Victory

Malibu Moon colt misfired in his first stakes start at Oaklawn Park.

Back home at Santa Anita Park, Kaleem Shah's Aristocratic shrugged off a poor off-the-board finish at Oaklawn Park last time out to score impressively in the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes April 16.

Hustled out of the gate by jockey Rafael Bejarano, the 3-year-old Malibu Moon  colt trained by Doug O'Neill set the pace, took pressure from three horses to his outside, and easily held off a late charge by favored Bobby Abu Dhabi to win by 4 1/2 lengths.

The win followed a sixth-place run in the Gazebo Stakes March 4 at Oaklawn, where Aristocratic finished 16 1/4 lengths behind winner Rockshaw.

"After that race at Oaklawn, where he acted up at the gate, the jock said that when he got in behind horses, he lost his mind," O'Neill said. "I want to thank (Santa Anita starter Jay Slender) and his crew, because we took him to the gate here quite a bit for schooling and it paid off."

On Sunday Aristocratic set fractions of :21.67 and :44.84, then finished off the six furlongs in 1:10.09. Bobby Abu Dhabi raced 4 1/4 lengths off the lead, last in the five-horse field in the backstretch, but his wide move never seriously challenged Aristocratic, who extended his margin by two lengths in the final furlong.

"I knew there was a lot of speed in the race, but this horse likes to be on the lead and in control," Bejarano said. "So there was no choice for me. I tried to get him to relax without taking too much hold of him and get him comfortable. At the top of the stretch, I knew I had plenty left."

Big League came in third, four lengths behind Bobby Abu Dhabi, and was followed by Rebel War, and Taxman's Quest, to complete the order of finish.

Aristocratic, who broke his maiden Feb. 11 at Santa Anita after two second-place runs to start his career, he now has a 2-2-0 record from five starts with $99,950 in earnings. He was a $450,000 purchase out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training in 2016. The colt was bred in Kentucky by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate, out of the Speightstown  mare Ask Me When.