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American Preview: Sharp Samurai Returns in Meet’s Final Stakes
Sharp Samurai during a workout at Del Mar (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

American Preview: Sharp Samurai Returns in Meet’s Final Stakes

ARCADIA, CA – Mark Glatt’s multiple graded stakes winner Sharp Samurai makes his 2020 return in Sunday’s $100,000 American Stakes (G3), the final stakes on closing day for the Santa Anita Park winter/spring meet.

The American, a 1-mile turf event for horses ages 3 and up, attracted a field of ten that includes eight stakes winners and is slotted as the 10th of 12 races on the card.

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Here is a look at the full field for the American:

1. True Valour (6/1) – He was a graded stakes winner twice last year, with both coming over this same course and distance. He gets some class relief after competing in a pair of Grade 1s in last two starts, but this race came up saltier than usual for a Grade 3.

2. Jasikan (20/1) – He showed plenty of potential in 2019, winning the mile-long Oceanside Stakes on the Del Mar turf one start after taking an optional claiming event over this course and distance. He is unraced since finishing third in last August’s La Jolla Handicap (G3), but trainer John Sadler has a 24% strike rate with runners returning from layoffs exceeding 180 days.

3. Cleopatra’s Strike (7/2) – The tepid morning line favorite has a sparkling recent record (6-1-4-0) since joining Phil D’Amato’s barn at the start of 2019, and his lone defeat was a 1-length miss in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). That said, he has only a single victory in 6 starts while covering 1 mile on turf, so this may be intended as a prep for longer events at Del Mar.

4. Blitzkrieg (12/1) – His crowning achievement to date came when he shipped north to Golden Gate Fields and won the 2019 San Francisco Mile Stakes (G2). He takes a considerable class drop after returning from a decent layoff into the deep Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1) last time out.

5. Sharp Samurai (4/1) – He was a neck away from winning last year’s edition and won the 2018 City of Hope Mile Stakes (G2) over this course and distance. Trainer Mark Glatt has been red-hot since the meet resumed racing in mid-May, winning 14 of 41 mounts (34%) through Friday.

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6. Souter (15/1) – Though he shares the same trainer and ownership group as Sharp Samurai, he will need to reverse form if he hopes to keep pace with his stablemate. His last win came while covering 9 furlongs over this course 14 months ago and he has failed to hit the board in three subsequent stakes attempts.

7. Border Town (4/1) – He has done almost nothing wrong since joining Richard Mandella’s barn to start 2020, winning his past 2 starts after finishing second and third in his first 2. The meet’s leading rider will be aboard for the fifth straight time, and it is worth noting that the War Frong colt has improved his Beyer speed figures every single start since debuting for Chad Brown in 2019.

8. Bowies Hero (4/1) – One of the most seasoned runners on the southern California circuit, he has run in stakes ever since he broke his maiden on debut. His 22-8-1-1 record is amplified by his 16-7-1-1 distance mark, but he has struggled in the past when returning from a layoff – he was last seen finishing fifth in November’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) over this course and distance.

9. King of Speed (20/1) – He won a pair of turf mile stakes as a juvenile to earn his shot at the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), but he has not won in 9 subsequent starts. He was a respectable fourth over this course and distance in his most recent effort while returning from a layoff.

10. Bolo (8/1) – He was a 32/1 upset victor in last year’s Shoemaker Mile Stakes (G1) over this course and distance while taking the field gate to wire. He is unraced since finishing 10th in last October’s City of Hope Mile Stakes, but he did win the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Arcadia Stakes (G2) (again over this course and distance) while returning from similar layoffs.

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