Home Los Angeles News Santa Anita: Prince Abama wins the San Marcos Stakes

Santa Anita: Prince Abama wins the San Marcos Stakes

Santa Anita: Prince Abama wins the San Marcos Stakes

Turns out that a mile and a quarter was right up Prince Abama’s alley in the $200,000 Grade III San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday.

The 5-year-old gelded son of Tamayuz had gone farther on turf, winning the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar while traveling a mile and a half on Nov. 25, but he’d never tried the San Marcos distance.

Sent postward at 5-1 with Flavien Prat in the saddle, Prince Abama mowed ’em all down in the stretch, beating 3-1 favorite Masteroffoxhounds by a neck while running the distance over a firm turf course in 2: 01.42.

Prince Abama, who has won four of 12 lifetime, closed from sixth in the 10-horse field for trainer Philip D’Amato to increase his lifetime bankroll to $459,553 with the first-place check of $120,000.

Prat, winning at an uncharacteristically low 7 percent with his 101 mounts heading into Sunday, might be emerging from his slump. He won Saturday’s finale, the Grade III Thunder Road Stakes, with Earls Rock for D’Amato.

“It’s always great to get some winners,” Prat said. “I had a good trip, turning for home I had all my chances. I thought Masteroffoxhounds was going to be opening up and I was not going to be able to catch him, but my horse was really brave and laid it down and did the job.”

Masteroffoxhounds, also trained by D’Amato, was second behind pacesetter Evan Harlan much of the way before assuming control by a length at the head of the stretch. He couldn’t hold off the strong rally by Prince Abama, losing his third consecutive graded-stakes race.

“He’s a very consistent horse, he fires,” D’Amato said of the winner. “Last time he kind of got stuck on the inside (fourth-place finish in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26) and Flavien jumped off of him and said, ‘I didn’t give him my ideal trip.’ This time he made it a point to get him in the clear.

“I thought Masteroffoxhounds was home free, but Flavien laid it down and Prince Abama got the job done. He was slowly making up ground late, but Masteroffoxhounds was in full flight. I thought it was going to be really close and he just got the job done late.”

Palos Verdes Stakes

Hopkins, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Juan Hernandez, laid second off pacesetter Straight No Chaser early on and then zoomed away in the stretch to win the $200,000 Grade III sprint for older horses by 2 1/4 lengths over Radical Right.

A 5-year-old son of Quality Road, Hopkins ran the 6 furlongs in a swift 1: 08.80 while winning for the third time in seven starts. He improved his career earnings to $244,700 with the victory as the 2-1 second choice.

Straight No Chaser, the 2-1 favorite, finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Radical Right, after running the first half mile in a swift 44.10 seconds.

“The race set up really good for us,” Hernandez said. “(Straight No Chaser) is a really good horse, he’s really fast. I really like (Hopkins) a lot. He’s really shown off his first race that he’s really getting better.”