Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer holds a solid hand in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes Jan. 11, sending out recent Native Diver winner Blueskiesnrainbows and Rousing Sermon at Santa Anita Park.
One of two graded stakes on the Saturday program at Santa Anita, the San Pasqual Stakes has attracted a field of seven older horses at 1 1/16 miles. The race is the first major stakes locally leading to the March 8 Santa Anita Handicap.
Ridden by Martin Pedroza, Blueskiesnrainbows was a gate-to-wire winner of the Native Diver Dec. 14 at Betfair Hollywood Park for his Hall of Fame trainer, while Rousing Sermon finished a solid third, beaten a length.
Owned by Bad Boy Racing and Whizway Farms, Blueskiesnrainbows is an impressive 2-3-2 from eight starts at Santa Anita, including a game third-place finish to eventual Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby April 7, 2012.
A dedicated front-runner, there’s little doubt 5-year-old son of English Channel will have theft on his mind. Blueskiesnrainbows nearly managed to steal the Breeders' Cup Marathon over the track Nov. 1 before being caught late and finishing second to London Bridge. Overall, he is a six-time winner with six placings from 22 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $549,552.
Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams’ California homebred Rousing Sermon, who sat a close third throughout in the Native Diver, could well be taken well off the pace in the San Pasqual by regular rider Rafael Bejarano. The 5-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit has run some of his best races in this fashion, including a 1 1/16-mile allowance win at Santa Anita last April.
With three wins, a second, and a third from eight starts at Santa Anita, Rousing Sermon is 5-5-7 overall from 24 races with earnings of $705,842.
Trainer John Shirreffs will send out a fresh commodity in Blingo, who has been idle since winning the 1 1/16-mile I’m A Banker Stakes at Belmont Park Oct. 14. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Artie Schiller, Blingo failed to make an impact from off the pace in the San Felipe Stakes as a 3-year-old in March, 2012, but he came back to win the La Puente at 1 ⅛ miles on turf in April of that year. Jerry and Ann Moss' chestnut draws the rail and would be well-suited by a hot early pace.
Majestic City, impressive gate-to-wire winner with Edwin Maldonado in Santa Anita's one mile Big Bear Oct. 31, was subsequently second in the Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields Nov. 29. Owned by Bloom Racing Stable and trained by Ron Ellis, Majestic City should also be winging early from gate 3 under Maldonado.