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San Marcos Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks
Missed the Cut (Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

San Marcos Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks

Back in top form with a return to grass, John Sadler’s Missed the Cut will hope to spring a mild upset in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Marcos Stakes as six older horses go a mile and one quarter on turf at Santa Anita Park.

Originally scheduled for this past Sunday, the San Marcos has been rescheduled for this Saturday due to record rainfall.

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Never a factor when 12th and last in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic here at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 4, Missed the Cut rebounded with a solid second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Grade II San Gabriel here going a mile and one eighth on turf Dec. 26.

Although multiple stakes winner Planetario rates a huge chance in the San Marcos, Missed the Cut proved he can run with the talented Brazilian-bred four starts back in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap, as he missed third money by a nose while checking in one length clear of Planetario at 1 3/8 miles on turf.

A 5-year-old full horse by Quality Road, Missed the Cut, a winner of the Grade III Tokyo City Cup on dirt three starts back on Oct. 1, will be ridden for the first time in what will be his sixth Southern California start for Sadler.

Originally based in England, Missed the Cut is owned by Bee Zee, LLC, Lanes End Racing, St. Elias Stables, LLC, Edward Babington, Edward Hudson, Jr. and Lynne Hudson. With five wins and two seconds from 15 overall starts, he has earnings of $325,777.

Idle since taking the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup by a neck going a mile and one half on Nov. 24 at Del Mar, Planetario, a 6-year-old full horse bred in Brazil, also took the marathon Grade III San Juan Capistrano here five starts back on June 18—his lone win from four tries over the Santa Anita lawn.

A two-time Group I winner in Brazil, Planetario has run seven times for Mandella, the last six in graded stakes, winning two and running second in one (Grade II San Luis Rey, on May 13, 2023).

A dedicated deep closer, Planetario will be handled by regular rider Hector Berrios as his connections hope for a realistic pace to run at.

Speaking of early pace, the George Papaprodromou-trained Balladeer, who showed the way to deep stretch when finishing fourth, beaten two lengths in the mile and one half Hollywood Turf Cup Nov. 24, should be on the early lead again under regular pilot Victor Espinoza.

Although outrun when ninth going a mile and one half on turf two starts back in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Nov. 4, Balladeer took the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship in gate to wire fashion three starts back on Oct. 1 and rates big chance Sunday as he seeks his second graded stakes victory.

A 5-year-old full horse by Distorted Humor, Balladeer is owned by Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran. With an overall mark of 20-4-2-2, he has earnings of $419,290.


Race 8 of 10 | Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT

1. Missed the Cut – Joel Rosario – 124
2. Irish Prophet – Juan Hernandez – 120
3. Balladeer – Victor Espinoza – 124
4. Eastern Ocean – Antonio Fresu – 120
5. Planetario – Hector Berrios – 124
6. Shortman – Tiago Pereira – 120

First post time for a 10-race card at Santa Anita Park on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.