ARCADIA, CA – Little Red Feather Racing, Gordon Jacobsen, and Philip Belmonte’s Red King waited patiently for over 2 minutes before making a perfectly-timed move to the lead and drawing away to win Sunday’s $100,000 San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Sent from post 2 as the 7/2 second choice, Umberto Rispoli positioned Red King outside of horses to remain in the clear while Kershaw dueled with the 3/5 favorite Ward ‘n Jerry for the early pace.
With Swamp Souffle giving closest chase, Ward ‘n Jerry led outside of Kershaw for much of the running that began on the famed downhill turf course and crossed the outer dirt track before linking up with the grass ring inside it.
Creeping close as the field passed through the far turn, Red King went three-wide to the lead and straightened for home already with an advantage.
The Phil D’Amato trainee easily cleared off in the stretch before crossing 4 1/4 lengths clear in a final time of 2:46.67 for the 1 3/4-mile firm turf marathon.
“It was my first time going from the top of the downhill and I couldn’t understand how we cannot race so much on this track, it is beautiful,” said the Italian-bred Rispoli, who only began riding in America last year. “The grass is amazing, it’s a really good track. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone so far in a race because in Europe, we used to go quite enough every day, but it was a good feeling. Obviously, you need a horse like that.”
Siberian Iris toiled at the rear before getting up for second in the stretch by 3/4 of a length over a weakened Ward ‘n Jerry. Tintoretto, Swamp Souffle, Avalanche, Soverano, and Kershaw completed the order of finish.
Red King’s win was his second straight, having taken a local mile-long optional claiming event on May 24. The 6-year-old English Channel son improved his overall record to 27-6-4-7 with $278,115 earned.
Red King was third, beaten less than 2 lengths, in last year’s event, his third start since D’Amato claimed him for $35,000.
“Growing up here in LA, this was always one of my favorite races as a kid,” D’Amato said. “I remember, I used to like to stand on apron way past the wire and watch them come home in this race, just so I could take it all in. It’s just an amazing race and it’s really cool to win it. My horse won his last race and that picked his confidence up. It looked like maybe the favorite moved a little soon and Umberto was in the right spot.”
Red King returned $9.80 to win, $4.80 to place, and $2.60 to show. Siberian Iris brought back $6.20 to place and $3.20 to show, while Ward ‘n Jerry paid $2.10 to show.