Photos courtesy Benoit & Associates.
By Jack Shinar, Blood-Horse
Last at the head of the stretch, million-dollar earner Jeranimo overpowered his rivals to win the $150,500 San Gabriel Stakes (gr. IIT) going away for the second time in three years on the turf at Santa Anita Park Jan. 13.
B.J. Wright's 7-year-old son of Congaree scored by 2 3/4 lengths as the 2-1 second choice over Temple's Door, who got up for second by half a length over pacesetter Chosen Miracle. The final time for 1 1/8 miles on firm going was 1:46.50.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano won the San Gabriel for the fifth consecutive time aboard Jeranimo. Trained by Michael Pender, the big bay was second in last year's race after winning the San Gabriel in December 2010.
Bred in Florida by Brylynn Farm, the winner is out of the stakes-winning mare Jera, by Jeblar. Jeranimo earned a grade I victory in the Shoemaker Mile in June at Betfair Hollywood Park but had dropped his last three decisions. He was making his first appearance since a fourth-place finish in Hollywood's Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) Nov. 23.
Slim Shadey, the 3-2 favorite in the field of seven older runners, faded in the stretch after launching a bid on the far turn to reach contention, and finished next-to-last.
Bejarano took Jeranimo back after the start, angling to the rail from their far outside post as Chosen Miracle went to the front immediately after the break. Chosen Miracle set a solid pace while creeping a length or more away from outsiders Fast Track and Temple's Door, with Slim Shadey tracking in fourth. Fractions were :22.98, :46.75, and 1:10.98.
Slim Shadey advanced going into the far turn, angling out to the three path and cruised up alongside the leaders as they made their away around the bend. Meantime, Jeranimo was picking up steam from the back after trailing the pacemaker by as many as 10 lengths after a half mile.
Chosen Miracle maintained a one-length advantage to mid-stretch over Temple's Door as Slim Shady gave way. But the leader was no match for the streaking Jeranimo, who reached the front in full flight approaching the sixteenth pole on the outside and drew off impressively.
Temple's Door, angled off the rail in the lane by Tyler Baze, closed best of the others to nod Chosen Miracle and Joe Talamo for second, with Juniper Pass fourth. Then came Tale of a Champion, Slim Shadey, and Fast Track.
Jeranimo was an also-ran in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) the past two years, finishing sixth last November at Santa Anita after trailing the field to mid-stretch. The San Gabriel win, his ninth victory in 32 lifetime starts, pushed his earnings to $1,197,400.
Toting 120 pounds, three fewer than the top-weighted Slim Shadey, he returned $6, $3.80, and $2.60. The stalking Temple's Door, who was fifth last time in the Citation, paid $12.40 and $6.20 as a 20-1 shot. The exacta paid $65.20. The show price on Chosen Miracle, who was a little short in his first try at nine furlongs, was $3.20.
JERANIMO AND JOCKEY RAFAEL BEJARANO GALLOP BACK AFTER THEIR WIN