STRYKER Phd SET FOR 2017 DEBUT
POINT PIPER RUNS SATURDAY AT SANTA ANITA
Two-time Washington Horse of the Year Stryker Phd returns to action Friday in a $33,000 allowance race at Golden Gate Fields.
Stryker Phd drew the No. 1 post-position and is the 7-5 morning line favorite with regular rider Leslie Mawing up at 124 lbs. for trainer Larry Ross and owners Jim and Mona Hour. Carded as Race 2 at 1:15 p.m., the one-mile allowance will be run on Golden Gate’s synthetic Tapeta surface.
Friday’s race, his first as an 8-year-old, could elevate Stryker Phd into No. 3 all-time in Washington-bred earnings. His lifetime record is 11-5-6 in 27 starts with earnings of $619,841, placing Stryker Phd less less than $4,000 back of Peterhof’s Patea, who retired in 1994 with $623,367 in earnings. Saratoga Passage with $800,212 and Military Hawk with $686,128 rank No. 1 and 2 on the all-time Washington list.
Although Stryker Phd missed in his bid for a third straight Longacres Mile win, the Bertrando gelding closed out 2016 strong with victories in the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic at Emerald Downs and Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields, the latter triumph his first win in three tries on a synthetic track.
G.G. Ryder, who missed by a head vs. Stryker Phd in the Berkeley Handicap, is 3-1 second choice, and Bronze Star, winner of the Bull Dog Handicap at Fresno two starts back, is 7-2 third choice. G.G. Ryder (co-owned by George Todaro) and Bronze Star are both trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.
Rounding out the field are Indian Brut, runner-up to Star Student in the Oakland Handicap and 10th in the Longacres Mile, and Tamarando, leading earner in the field with $715,078.
The field for Friday’s race: 1-Stryker Phd, Leslie Mawing, 124 lbs, 7-5; 2-Bronze Star, Juan Hernandez, 125, 7-2; 3-Indian Brut, Kyle Frey, 119, 9-2; 4-Tamarando, Frank Alvarado, 119, 8-1; 5-G.G. Ryder, Ricardo Gonzalez, 119, 3-1.
POINT PIPER TRIES TURF IN SAN GABRIEL
While 2014-15 Longacres Mile winner Stryker Phd is in action at Golden Gate, 2016 Longacres Mile winner Point Piper runs in Saturday’s $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita.
A Grade 2 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, the San Gabriel caps a Saturday graded stakes triple-header also featuring the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds at one mile and $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf.
Point Piper is winless in four starts since his track record 1:32.90 in the Longacres Mile five months ago, but has finished runner-up in his last two starts while facing Midnight Storm in the Native Diver Handicap (G3) and California Chrome in the Los Alamitos Winter Challenge. A 7-year-old trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Point Piper is 8-1 in the San Gabriel, mainly due to his inexperience racing on turf.
By Giant’s Causeway-Imagine, Point Piper earned his maiden win on the turf four years ago in Ireland but is just 1-for-8 on the surface and might benefit from a surface switch Saturday (60 percent chance of rain Saturday in Arcadia, Calif.)
The San Gabriel is Race 9 with post time 4:30 p.m.
The field for the $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes: 1-Blue Tone, Kent Desormeaux, 120 lbs, 12-1; 2-Point Piper, Mario Gutierrez, 122, 8-1; 3-Flamboyant, Flavien Prat, 122, 6-1; 4-Syntax, Joe Talamo, 120, 20-1; 5-Itsinthepost, Tyler Baze, 120, 10-1; 6-Conquest Daddyo, Luis Contreras, 120, 15-1; 7-A Red Tie Day, Corey Nakatani, 120, 6-1; 8-Quick Casablanca, Gonzallo Ulloa-Perez, 122, 15-1; 9-Twentytwentyvision, Mike Smith, 120, 4-1; 10-Perfectly Majestic, Victor Espinoza, 120, 8-1; Ring Weekend, Drayden Van Dyke, 125, 5-2; 12-Some in Tieme, Tiago Periera, 120, 20-1.