A field of five will race a mile on the turf in Saturday’s fifth race at Santa Anita, the $200,000 Arcadia Stakes (GIIT). The grassy event will be contested for the 31st time this year and is named for the city in which the famed racetrack is located. Breeders’ Cup Mile (GIT) winner Steinlen won the inaugural Arcadia in 1989, the year after winning on Racing’s Championship Day and won it again two years later. Since then the standout runners who have added their names to the winners list includes Political Ambition, Exbourne, Val de Bois, Labeeb, Singletary, Daytona and Liberian Freighter.
Bolo, who is winless in three starts since taking this event a year ago, will lead the field to the gate under jockey Mike Smith. The 5-year-old Carla Gaines trainee hasn’t started since a poor ninth-place finish in the Eddie Read (GIIT) at Del Mar in July, but it’s safe to say he’s better than that. The son of Temple City was third in the 2015 Santa Anita Derby (GI) and then 12th in the Kentucky Derby (GI) and subsequently was switched to the turf where he earned two wins and a second from four tries at a flat mile. The Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc. and Earle I. Mack, LLC, colorbearer is a stalker who waits until the stretch to launch his best run, so expect that kind of a trip from him this time as well.
Conquest Enforcer won the Mathis Brothers Mile (GIIT) as the 9-5 favorite on opening day in his first start for new owners Looch Racing and Imaginary Stables after being purchased out of the Conquest Stable dispersal for $785,000 at Keeneland in November. The now 4-year-old Ontario-bred is in the care of new trainer Phil D’Amato and will be ridden again by by Flavien Prat. He’s a frontrunner, so expect a repeat performance of his last; he’ll be tough to run down in the lane.
What a View returns off a second-place finish to multiple graded stakes winner Ashleyluvssugar in the 1 1/8-mile California Cup Turf Classic on Jan. 28 and is another expected to be on the front end early. The cutback in distance should help the Kenny Black trainee, who appears to prefer the one-mile distance, having won four of his eight tries at eight furlongs. The 6-year-old gelded son of Vronsky is owned by Finish Line Racing, LLC, the Elwood Johnston Trust and Taste of Victory Stables and was bred in California.
Ring Weekend disappointed in the slop as the 8-5 favorite in the San Gabriel Stakes (GIIT), which was shifted to the main track due to rain on Jan. 7 and likely contributed to the 6-year-old Tapit gelding’s poor showing. Previously he won the Seabiscuit Handicap (GIIT) at Del Mar at 1 1/16 miles on turf back in November and also won the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (GIT) over this course two years ago. The Graham Motion trainee is a closer who will love the anticipated hot pace, so all jockey Tyler Baze may need to do is find clear running room in the lane.
Brazilian-bred Ohio has two wins in seven starts since being shipped to North America in late 2015. The Paulo Lobo trainee was third in the Del Mar Mile (GIIT) but seems better suited to the optional claiming ranks.