LNJ Foxwoods’ classy multiple stakes-winning United, idle since early November, will square off with Rockingham Ranch’s streaking Masteroffoxhounds, as they head a field of five older horses going 1 1/2 miles on the turf in the March 20 $100,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (G3T) at Santa Anita Park.
A winner of four out of nine Santa Anita turf starts, United has been idle since running a disappointing eighth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) Nov. 7 at Keeneland—a race in which he finished second a year before at Santa Anita.
A 6-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway, United enjoyed a terrific year in 2020, winning four out of his six starts, all in graded stakes, and finishing a close second in another, the Del Mar Handicap (G2T) three starts ago Aug. 22.
A gate-to-wire winner of the John Henry Turf Championship (G2T) at a mile and one quarter two starts back on Sept. 26, United’s lone “misfire” came in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, a race in which he pressed the early pace and tired to lose by 9 3/4 lengths.
Trained by Richard Mandella, United will be ridden by Flavien Prat, who’s been aboard for his last 11 starts, winning five of them. With two second-place finishes in three tries at 1 1/2 miles on turf, United is easily the leading money earnerwith $1,453,549 from an overall mark of 7-4-1 from 17 starts.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by War Front , Masteroffoxhounds made his first six starts in Ireland, winning once. A non-threatening seventh in his U.S. debut going one mile on turf three starts ago Nov. 7, he’s shown rapid improvement going longer distances for trainer Richard Baltas—airing by 4 1/4 lengths in a 1 3/8 mile turf allowance Nov. 28 at Del Mar and most recently winning the Feb. 6 San Marcos Stakes (G2T) at 1 1/4 miles over the Santa Anita turf by 1 1/4 lengths.
Although ridden by Joel Rosario for the first time in the San Marcos, Masteroffoxhounds will get the first-time services of Umberto Rispoli. With an overall mark of 3-1-1 in nine starts, Masteroffoxhounds has earnings of $172,942 and will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time.
A grade 1 winner in Canada last year, Sam-Son Farm owned-Say the Word finished a fast-closing third in the Nov. 27 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2T) in his first start for D’Amato. Following that effort, he faded to 11th in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Turf (G1T) Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park.
With leading rider Flavien Prat staying on United, Say the Word will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
D’Amato’s other entrant, the multiple-graded stakes winning gelding Acclimate, will likely go to the front and try to take the field as far as he can under Tyler Baze. Bet down as the 6-5 favorite in the San Marcos Stakes (G2T), the California-bred son of Acclamation showed the way until collared by Masteroffoxhounds and settling for second.
Santa Anita Park, Saturday, March 20, 2021, Race 7
- Grade III
- 1 1/2m
- Downhill turf
- 4 yo’s & up
- 4:25 PM (local)