ARCADIA, CA – Yuesheng Zhang’s Irish-bred Platinum Warrior took command off of the far turn and took off strongly in the stretch, shining brightly under the California sun as he won Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Dismissed by bettors at 16/1 odds when he broke from post 5 under fellow Irishman Shane Foley (who came stateside just for this one ride), Platinum Warrior stalked early leader Roman Rosso through opening fractions of :23.3.7, :48.22, and 1:13.24. Ranging up alongside the pacsetter as they entered the far turn, Platinum Warrior gradually inched ahead before hitting the top of the stretch in full control. Drawing away at first, Platinum Warrior had to dig deep to fend off late charges from Epical and Beach View, but in the end, the John Sadler trainee was victorious. Platinum Warrior crossed with a 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 2:02.37 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the turf course rated good.
“Without a doubt, it was well worth the travel from Ireland for this win,” said Foley, who also came stateside for his steed’s most recent start in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes, where he finished fifth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. “I let him go, let him dictate it. I knew his speed was his main attribute. Being on the front end turning into the straight was a bit daunting, but I just had to play him at his strengths and knew if we turned it into a sprint, he’d sprint away. I knew we needed to make a stand to make it count.”
Epical was the front-runner in the twin blurs closing quickly at the end, necking out Beach View for second. Ya Gotta Wanna took fourth over the 3/1 favorite Chicago Style, while Dabster – trying turf for the first time – took sixth in a blanket finish over Unapologetic, Sejo, and Flamboyant. The field’s lone female India Mantuana faded to 10th after chasing the early pace, while Roman Rosso, Prince of Arabia, and Lucky Soul completed the order of finish.
Platinum Warrior’s win was his first in four starts since joining Sadler’s barn last fall and improved his overall record to 12-3-1-0 with $208,290 earned. The 4-year-old son of Galileo previously had Foley aboard when winning the Group 3 Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes at Curragh last May, a race which was also contested at 1 1/4 miles.
“Since we have been training (him), we were always looking at the longer races,” Sadler said. “We were kind of waiting. The preps are always a little shorter, so we thought he ran well last time. He got beat by 2 lengths, kind of got stuck on the inside, so the (distance), we were really looking forward to that today.”
Platinum Warrior returned $34.40 to win, $13.80 to place, and $8.40 to show. Epical brought back $5.80 to place and $4.20 to show, while Beach View paid $5.40 to show.