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ARCADIA, CA – LNJ Foxwoods’ ultra-classy United was a sharp winner off the bench in Saturday’s $100,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
United broke from post 3 under regular rider Flavien Prat as the 4/5 favorite in the field of five and closely attended pacesetter Acclimate, who posted fractions of :24.29, :47.18, 1:11.36, and 1:36.01 through the opening mile.
United made his bid as the field passed through the far turn and straightened for home with a clear lead, then kicked clear in the stretch and had enough left to hold off a streaking Say the Word to win by 3/4 of a length.
The Richard Mandella trainee completed the 1 1/2-mile firm turf route in 2:25.51.
“He was traveling well the whole way and he responded well when I asked him to go,” Prat said. “My horse likes to be in the race and he likes it when there is a good pace. I wanted to stay close to Acclimate; I didn’t want him to get too easy of a lead.”
Say the Word was 1 length clear of Masteroffoxhounds, who raced in third from start to finish.
Acclimate and Multiplier completed the order of finish.
United’s win came in his first start since finishing eighth in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) while facing several of the world’s best grass horses and improved his overall record to 18-8-4-1. The 6-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding has now earned $1,513,549.
“Hat’s off to Mr. Mandella, he had him ready to run a mile and 1/2 today,” Prat said. “He likes the turf courses out here, and with the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar (in November), that’s good. Hoping to have a good year.”
United returned $3.80 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Say the Word brought back $3.60 to place and $2.80 to show. Masteroffoxhounds paid $2.20 to show.
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