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Bourbon Bay, Champ Pegasus clash in San Luis Obispo
|Bourbon Bay scored his fifth win from six starts in the San Marcos
BOURBON BAY (Sligo Bay [Ire]) and CHAMP PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus), the West
Coast's foremost turf marathoners, renew their rivalry in Santa Anita's $150,000
San Luis Obispo S. (G2) going 1 1/2 miles on Saturday. It is the third such
time the pair have met, with each taking a win in their prior two appearances.
Bourbon Bay got the better of favored Champ Pegasus most recently in the
January 17 San Marcos S. (G2) going 10 furlongs. Before that, Champ Pegasus made
good on his 8-5 favoritism when besting third-place Bourbon Bay by one length in
Oak Tree's Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship S. (G1) over 1 1/4 miles
at Hollywood Park on October 3.
It is expected that the more recent San Marcos result, which separated the
pair by 1 3/4 lengths, will elevate Bourbon Bay to slight favoritism when
attempting to defend his title among 13 entrants in the 55th running of the San
Although inclement weather is a distinct possibility on Saturday, it is hoped
the San Luis Obisbo will remain on Santa Anita's Camino Real Turf Course. First
run on turf in 1954, a surface switch has occurred just three times in San Luis
Obispo history, most recently in 2005.
The defending champion's fondness for the turf course is well established.
After winning a first-condition allowance race on January 6 of last year,
Bourbon Bay stepped up to win the 2010 San Luis Obisbo by 4 1/2 lengths,
igniting a streak of wins in three Grade 2 marathon events at Santa Anita before
falling to Champ Pegasus seven months later in Hollywood Park's Hirsch.
|Champ Pegasus flew home in last year's Hirsch
With the San Marcos win, Bourbon Bay extended his perfection over Santa
Anita's Camino Real Turf Course to five races for trainer Neil Drysdale.
Meantime, Champ Pegasus was rapidly developing last summer for conditioner
Richard Mandella, and his Hirsch triumph was his fourth win in five starts.
Champ Pegasus proceeded to run a bang-up second to Dangerous Midge (Lion Heart)
in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on November 6 and, like
Bourbon Bay, was making his first appearance of the year in the San Marcos.
The match between the pair of five-year-old turf marathoners serves to
provide a rivalry within a rivalry. Leading rider Rafael Bejarano accompanies
Bourbon Bay. Joel Rosario, Bejarano's close pursuer in the Santa Anita jockey
standings, is the regular rider of Champ Pegasus.
Rosario also has piloting duties aboard SMILING TIGER (Hold That Tiger), who
will seek redemption with the rider switch as part of the six-horse field
sprinting seven furlongs on the main track in Saturday's co-feature, the 73rd
running of the $150,000
Carlos H. (G2).
|Smiling Tiger is looking to regain his Grade 1-winning from
The four-year-old colt has been assigned high weight of 121 pounds despite
dropping his past three starts, all against stellar company. Smiling Tiger's
last win came in Oak Tree's Ancient Title S. (G1) on October 9, following which
he finishing third to champion Big Drama (Montbrook) in the Breeders' Cup Sprint
(G1) and missed by a nose to the record-shattering Twirling Candy (Candy Ride
[Arg]) in Santa Anita's opening-day Malibu S. (G1).
Last out, the chestnut four-year-old suffered the worst defeat of his 12-race
career, running third by 4 1/2 lengths in the Palos Verdes S. (G2). Smiling
Tiger was just a head up on VENTANA (Toccet), who finished fourth, and will be
looking to return to his winning three-year-old form in this contest.
Ventana and Palos Verdes runner-up CAPTAIN CHEROKEE (Sir Cherokee) will
attempt to spoil his chances once again in the San Carlos. Winner of the Potrero
Grande H. (G2) last season, Ventana was second in the 2010 edition of the San
Carlos. Captain Cherokee was no factor in stakes events as a three-year-old, but
showed new life last year when second in the Harvey Arneault Memorial S. last
Also entered in the San Carlos are dual Grade 3 winner MYTHICAL POWER
(Congrats), who captured an optional claimer last out off a near four-month
break, and SUPREME SUMMIT (Cactus Ridge), a hard-charging fourth in the
Breeders' Cup Sprint just a head back of Smiling Tiger.
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