(Roadster / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Santa Anita Media Team:

Trainer John Sadler’s hard knocking 6-year-old gelding Flagstaff looms prominent amongst a wide open field of six older sprinters going seven furlongs in Saturday’s G2, $200,000 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita.

Along with Flagstaff, who was a close second in the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes going six furlongs on Jan. 25, Bob Baffert will send out a tough twosome in recent 6 ½ furlong allowance winner McKale and last year’s Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster, who cuts back in distance and has five consecutive bullet works on his tab since well beaten routing.

Throw in trainer Phil Oviedo’s recent allowance winner Manhattan Up, Sadler’s St. Joe Bay, who’s been idle since winning last year’s San Carlos and Mark Glatt’s Grade III Longacres Mile winner Law Abidin Citizen, and this year’s San Carlos would indeed appear to be a wide open affair at seven panels.

FLAGSTAFF

Owner:  Lane’s End Farm & Hronis Racing, LLC
Trainer:  John Sadler

Off as the 4-5 favorite in the four-horse Palos Verdes, this Speightstown gelding hopped a bit at the break, was quickly into contention, but could never quite collar winning Captain Scotty while beaten a neck in a very game performance.  A nose winner of the seven furlong Damascus Stakes two starts back on Nov. 2, Flagstaff, although lightly raced, has been a gem of consistency for Sadler, posting a career mark of 10-4-3-2.  Given his recent second in the Palos Verdes and a solid work tab, Flagstaff is the tepid choice.

McKALE

Owner:  Mike Pegram, Karl Watson & Paul Weitman
Trainer: Bob Baffert

Arguably the most impressive last-out performer in this year’s San Carlos, this 5-year-old Maryland-bred gelding by Congrats opened up two lengths early through fast splits and held Manhattan Up at bay late to win a 6 ½ furlong allowance by three quarters of a length on Jan. 10 as the 3-2 favorite.  Although winless in two seven furlong tries at age three, McKale should be extremely tough on Saturday with Drayden Van Dyke back aboard.

ROADSTER

Owner:  Speedway Stable, LLC
Trainer:  Bob Baffert

Off as the 9-5 favorite in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles San Pasqual Stakes on Feb. 1, last year’s Santa Anita Derby winner fell far back early and finished seventh, beaten 9 ½ lengths in a miserable performance. Undeterred, Baffert appears to have gone back to basics with this grey colt by Quality Road, as he’s posted five consecutive bullet drills since, the most recent a half mile in 46.20, best of 43 on Monday morning. A good second, beaten 2 ¾ lengths two starts back by Omaha Beach in the Grade I, seven furlong Malibu Stakes on Dec. 28, Baffert would appear to have Roadster on his toes and primed for a top effort on Saturday.

THE GRADE II SAN CARLOS WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 4 of 12 Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT

  1. Manhattan Up–Tiago Pereira–121
  2. Flagstaff–Victor Espinoza–121
  3. Roadster–Mike Smith–123
  4. St. Joe Bay–Flavien Prat–123
  5. Law Abidin Citizen – Abel Cedillo – 123
  6. McKale–Drayden Van Dyke–121

Special early first post time for a 12-race card on Saturday is at 11:30 a.m. with admission gates opening at 9:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.