02/19/2011 6:23PM

Santa Anita: Turf duo leaving town


It must be considered a disappointment that Champ Pegasus and Bourbon Bay, the first two finishers of Saturday's Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Stakes at Santa Anita, are both bound for Dubai, and the $5 million Sheema Classic over about 1 1-2 miles on turf at Meydan Racecourse on March 26.

Understandably, the lure of a $3 million first place purse is enough to tantalize any owner or trainer, but it will leave a noticeable void at the top of the California turf marathon division.

Bourbon Bay beat Champ Pegasus in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes over 1 1-4 miles on turf on Jan. 17, but there was only a nose between Champ Pegasus and Bourbon Bay in the San Luis Obispo Stakes.

If they were staying in town, their options would be the $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap over 1 1-2 miles on turf on March 20 and/or the historic $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3-4 miles on turf on April 17.

The prize money is a pittance compared to the Dubai values, but they have provided two excellent stakes at this meeting. Hopefully, the Dubai trip will not be too taxing, and they can meet again, perhaps at the end of Hollywood Park or at Del Mar.