ARCADIA, CA – Red Baron’s Barn LLC’s Itsinthepost overcame a troubled start and bounced back to victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita.
Off as a slight 2-1 favorite from post 8 under Tyler Baze, Itsinthepost was squeezed between rivals shortly after breaking but recovered to sit in fourth into the first turn while Smokey Image set splits of :23.81, :48.08, and 1:11.86. Running three deep through the far turn, Itsinthepost hit the stretch in full stride and used his outside position to take the lead and edged away to hit the line first by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:47.59.
“I looked at the form and it was run the exact way I thought it would be,” said Baze. “I really just wanted to get him out there and get to the right spot, let him get into a groove and it played out just the way I thought it would today. He always gives you 100 percent. He’s a barn favorite. It’s really been a team effort.”
Flamboyant , last in the 10-horse field for much of the race, rallied late to get up for second. Editore began making a move with a furlong to go but had to be steadied to avoid an incident but still ran on for third. Smokey Image faded to finish fourth by a neck over Isotherm, while Free Rose, He Will, Win the Space, Tequila Joe, and Top of the Game completed the order of finish.
Itsinthepost, second in this race last year in his graded stakes debut, earned his fourth graded stakes score (all Grade 2s) with the victory. The 6-year-old gelded son of American Post now sports a record of 31-7-7-5 with career earings of $855,712. He raced 10 times stateside before moving to trainer Jeff Mullins, then won next out on May 8, 2016. Since moving to Mullins’ care, Itsinthepost sports a record of 16-6-6-0 overall, including 10-4-3-0 against graded stakes company.
“The way he’s been training has just been unbelievable,” Mullins said. “He’s been full of energy and I knew if he got the trip he’d get the job done. We’ve never really had a plan with this horse, we just kind of go with the flow, and when he tells us he’s ready to go, we go.”
Itsinthepost returned $6.60 to win, $3.80 to place, and $3.20 to show. Flamboyant brought back $6.60 to place and $4.80 to show, while Editore paid $7.60 to show.