The El Conejo, at 5 1/2 furlongs on Cushion Track, drew a six-horse field. The race shares the New Year's Day top billing at Santa Anita with the $100,000 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) for older fillies and mares on the hillside turf course.
Idiot Proof, who will be 4 on Jan. 1, captured Oak Tree's Ancient Title Breeders' Cup (gr. I) on Santa Anita's all-weather surface by three-quarters of a length prior to his game second-place effort behind BC Sprint winner Midnight Lute three weeks later at sloppy Monmouth Park. The California-bred bay colt by Benchmark shares top weight of 122 pounds with In Summation.
The Clifford Sise trainee has compiled a 5-2-1 record in nine starts for owner/breeders Pam and Martin Wygod while earning $830,136.
Jockey David Flores, off to a hot start at the winter/spring meet, rides Idiot Proof. Flores, who has been aboard Idiot Proof in six of his starts including his last two outings, swept Santa Anita’s three stakes events on the meet’s opening day Dec. 26.
The soon-to-be 5-year-old horse In Summation,trained by Christophe Clement, captured Del Mar’s Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) last summer on Polytrack. A 5-year-old Florida bred owned by Waterford Stable, In Summation has posted an 8-5-0 mark in 19 starts for earnings of $749,826.
In his last start Dec. 2, In Summation ran second in the six-furlong Vernon O. Underwood (gr. III) at Hollywood Park, finishing three parts of a length behind El Conejo rival Bushwhacker.
The 6-year-old Bushwacker, has back-to-back wins for trainer Bill Currin and carries 119 pounds in the El Conejo.
$100,000 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III, Race 4, 1:34 p.m.), 4 & Up, 5 1/2 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Barber (KY), 115, Richard Migliore
2. Bushwacker (FL), 119, Joseph Talamo
3. Idiot Proof (CA), 122, David R. Flores
4. In Summation (FL), 122, Corey S. Nakatani
5. Barbecue Eddie (MD), 116, Aaron T. Gryder
6. Council Member (KY), 117, Garrett K. Gomez