ARCADIA, CA – Red Baron’s Barn’s Itsinthepost repeated his success, both last year and recently, while also becoming racing’s newest millionaire by running hard down the stretch to take Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita.
Breaking from post 2 as the odds-on favorite under regular rider Tyler Baze, Itsinthepost sat three-wide in mid-pack while Play Hard to Get and Aquaphobia took turns leading through splits of :24.32, :49.35, 1:14.40, and 1:39.04 for the opening mile. Baze gave Itsinthepost the cue as they raced down the backstretch a second time, and after running three-wide through the far turn, Itsinthepost emerged onto the stretch in front by 2 lengths. The Jeff Mullins trainee kicked hard to hold off a late charge from Hayabusa One and win by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 2:27.73 for the 12-furlong turf marathon.
“The only instructions Jeff gave me today were to try and see if we could stalk (the pace) on the outside, and it worked out great,” said Baze, who also took the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes aboard Selcourt earlier on the card. “When (Aquaphobia) kind of went on with it, I was able to slide right out turning down the backside, and it worked out great. I think he’s my all-time best horse now for money-won. He has the will to win.”
Hayabusa One, a narrow escapee of the tragic fire that saw dozens of horses and homes lost at the San Luis Rey Downs training center, was 5 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of his foes. The race’s lone female runner, Responsibleforlove, necked out third over Colonist. Rye took fifth ahead of a fading Aquaphobia, with Play Hard to Get, Oscar Dominguez, and Saltini completing the order of finish.
Itsinthepost extended his win streak to three in a row, each a Grade 2 event on the Santa Anita lawn, a location where he hasn’t lost since May 28, 2017. The French-bred 6-year-old gelded son of American Post improved his overall record to 33-9-7-5 with career earnings of $1,095,712.
“I don’t even know what to say,” an emotional Mullins said after the race. “He’s a special horse. He just shows up every time. It’s crazy.
“I’ve had some good turf horses, but some of them, they’ll kinda tail off at some point. Not this horse; he’s just solid every time. With this horse, the further, the better.”
Itsinthepost returned $4.20 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.40 to show. Hayabusa One brought back $3.40 to place and $3 to show, while Responsibleforlove paid $5 to show.