Favored Itsinthepost, a winner of six previous grade 2 races, was returning to his home turf after a trip to Keeneland, where he finished third in the Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2T) for Jed Cohen's Red Baron's Barn. He was also without his regular rider, Tyler Baze, who had been aboard for the American Post gelding's last 19 races but was injured during a spill a week prior.
Turning for home, it looked as though an upset was in order. Kenjisstorm found a perfect trip behind the speedy What a View and inherited the lead, but Itsinthepost surged by in the final sixteenth to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
"I thought we would have more pace, but he was traveling very nicely for me and I just wanted to wait until that last part to finish," said jockey Julien Leparoux, who got riding instructions from Baze in the Santa Anita paddock area.
Kenjisstorm raced about a length off What a View through much of the race—the pacesetter ran fractions of :25.31, :50.62, 1:15.32, and 1:38.93 through a mile—and finished 2 1/4 lengths clear of Frank Conversation, who came in third. What a View held fourth and was followed by Flamboyant and Syntax to complete the order of finish.
"We had a perfect trip," said Kenjisstorm's jockey, Flavien Prat. "I thought we could win turning for home. No excuses."
Itsinthepost finished the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.10 at odds of 4-5 to clinch a fifth win in his last seven starts.
"He's by far the most consistent horse I've had, especially at the marathon (grass) distances," said winning trainer Jeff Mullins. "He's just solid. ... The horse puts himself where he needs to be in a race, and if the pace is quick enough, he can get it done—and even when the pace isn't quick enough, sometimes."
Bred in France by Julien Leaunes out of the Mozart (IRE) mare Sakkara Star, Itsinthepost has a 10-7-6 record from 35 starts and earnings of more than $1.2 million.