In a field of seasoned veterans, Jeff Mullins-trained Itsinthepost has been dubbed the highweight to run 1 1/4 miles on the Santa Anita Park turf May 26 in the $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2T).
The field of eight older horses includes the likes of last-out San Francisco Mile (G3T) winner Flamboyant, Chile's group 1 winner Full of Luck, and last-out American Stakes (G3T) winner What a View among others.
Owned by Red Baron's Barn, Itsinthepost will give two to four pounds to the competition, carrying 125 pounds off a third-place effort in Keeneland's Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2T) April 21. In that 1 1/2-mile contest, the son of American Post finished three quarters of a length and a nose behind the top two.
The Dixiana was the 6-year-old gelding's only loss of 2018 after starting the year with three wins at Santa Anita. Following the same path as last year, Mullins entered Itsinthepost in the San Gabriel (G2T), San Marcos (G2T), and San Luis Rey (G2T) stakes. Unlike last year, he posted victories in each.
Itsinthepost's 2017 path also took him through the Charles Whittingham, in which he placed fifth. He followed up that effort with another fifth in the United Nations Stakes (G1T) and a runner-up finish in the Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association (G2T). After winning the John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (G2T) by a head, his season culminated with an off-the-board finish in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T) at Del Mar.
He leaves the gate Saturday with Tyler Baze from post 6.
David Bienstock and Charles Winner's Flamboyant has not been a consistent winner at the graded level, but the 7-year-old gelding has earned respect with eight placings and three wins in 22 graded starts. His March 31 score in the San Francisco Mile—when he got a neck in front of grade 3 winner Editore—broke a 14-race winless streak.
Trained by Patrick Gallagher, Flamboyant will be ridden from the rail by Brice Blanc.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns Full of Luck with CTR Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds, and George Todaro, will send out the son of Lookin At Lucky for his third start in North America this weekend.
With eight wins in South America, five in group 2 events or higher, Full of Luck has made just two starts in California. He kicked off his season with the March 31 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate, in which he placed 11th, and finished fourth in the April 28 Californian Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on the dirt.
What a View, trained by Kenneth Black, will look for back-to-back wins. The 7-year-old Vronsky gelding finished off the board in two 2018 starts prior to his American Stakes victory. He began the year in the Feb. 24 Daytona Stakes (G3T) at Santa Anita and followed with the March 10 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1T), which he won in 2016.
Ridden by Stewart Elliot, What a View is set to leave post 4.