According to Ed Golden of Santa Anita Publicity, as of February 5th there were just four horses under consideration for the February 12th San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, although the quality of those four horses will assure that the seven-furlong race is an exciting event.
Leading the way is Battle of Midway, a well-regarded son of Smart Strike that won his debut in impressive fashion on January 21st. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Battle of Midway dueled for the lead through fast fractions before drawing off to win by 3 1/2 lengths, earning a 91 BRIS speed figure.
Another promising maiden winner on schedule for the San Vicente is Iliad, who posted a solid 96 BRIS figure while winning a six-furlong maiden race at Los Alamitos on December 18th. Trained at the time by Bob Baffert, Iliad has since been transferred to the barn of Doug O’Neill, who won the 2016 San Vicente Stakes with future Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.
Perhaps the most accomplished of the possible San Vicente starters is Big Hit, who broke his maiden third-time out at Del Mar (earning a 90 BRIS figure) before finishing third in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita. That race was a two-turn mile, and Big Hit could appreciate the cutback in distance to seven furlongs.
Rounding out the list of expected starters is Aquamarine, who–like Battle of Midway–has won his only race to date. That event was a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race on January 13th at Santa Anita, in which Aquamarine splashed over a muddy track to win by 1 3/4 lengths with a 95 BRIS speed figure. Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Zayat Stables, Aquamarine looks like yet another talented runner for the team that campaigned 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Just ten horses were nominated to the San Vicente, with the full list available on the Equibase website. Time will tell if any of these colts wind up on the Kentucky Derby trail, but the talent they’ve shown so far is undeniable. Be sure to keep an eye out for them this weekend!
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