ARCADIA, CA – Red Baron’s Barn’s Itsinthepost continued his recent trend of Santa Anita turf dominance, gamely battling along the rail to nose out victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita.
Breaking well from mid-pack under Tyler Baze, Itsinthepost stalked off the rail while Mr. Roary set splits of :23.22, :45.96, and 1:09.46 through the opening 3/4 of a mile. Bidding three-deep down the back stretch and into the far turn, Itsinthepost took command with the ease by the turn’s exit and angled in as he was set down for the stretch drive. Baze’s move to the rail proved critical, as the ground saved proved the difference at the wire in a photo-finish head-bob with Hayabusa One under Victor Espinoza. The pair hit the wire in a final time of 1:58.24 for the 1 1/4-mile grass race.
“I knew they were going fast in front of me, but I wasn’t worried about any of those horses,” Baze said. “I’ve always done the same thing. I’ve always had to out-kick the horses that have that turn of foot. I make them chase me because then they’re having to work that much harder if I open on them a little bit.”
“My horse ran a big race and he’s coming along pretty nicely,” Espinoza said. “He’s better than before, when I rode him last February. It was just one of those things today. We were either going to win or lose today, and it was a flip of the coin. It was a tiny bobble and the main thing is that he ran great.”
The lead pair were 2 1/2 lengths in front of Editore in third, with the rest of the field strung out further. Free Rose took fourth, Mr. Roary faded to fifth, Flamboyant took sixth, and Isotherm completed the order of finish in seventh. Prince of Arabia was scratched.
Itsinthepost, second in this race a year ago, is now a winner of three straight stakes on the Santa Anita turf, including last out in the Grade 2 San Gabriel. The 6-year-old gelded son of American Post increased his career earnings to $975,712 with a record of 32-8-7-5.
“He’s a really good horse,” said Jed Cohen of Red Baron’s Barn. “Even when he doesn’t win, he’s right there every time. You don’t get many horses this consistent, period.”
Itsinthepost returned $3.80 to win, $3 to place, and $2.40 to show. Hayabusa One brought back $9 to place and $4.80 to show, while Editore paid $4.40 to show.