Updated on 09/17/2011 11:01AM

Aldebaran wins San Carlos

Email
Horsephotos
Aldebaran ($6.80) scores a convincing five-length win in Sunday's San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita for his first Grade 1 win.

ARCADIA, Calif. - After a month of riding Aldebaran in workouts and begging trainer Bobby Frankel for the mount, jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr. made the most of the opportunity in Sunday's $200,000 at Santa Anita.

With a perfect trip, Aldebaran scored a convincing five-length win, his first success at the Grade 1 level.

"He kept training like a monster," Valdivia said. "I wanted to ride him so bad."

Making his first start since finishing second in the Cigar Mile last November at Aqueduct, Aldebaran ($6.80) ran seven furlongs in 1:21.53.

On the backstretch, Aldebaran was fifth, 10 lengths behind Mellow Fellow who set a pace of 22.41 and 44.72 seconds. At the time, Mellow Fellow was closely tracked by Total Limit, Crafty C.T. and Shah Jehan.

Aldebaran did not reach contention until the turn when Valdivia was forced to decide whether to stay inside or rally wide around the frontrunners.

"I decided, I've got so much horse, I'll swing him around," Valdivia said. "Man, did he take off."

Crafty C.T., the even-money favorite who was part of the early pace, held on for second. He finished a half-length front of Grey Memo, who was followed by Mellow Fellow, Shah Jehan and Total Limit. Roman Dancer was scratched at post time after he was reported to be off in his right foreleg, according to track stewards.

The San Carlos was Aldebaran's first stakes win since the 2001 Nassau Handicap at Belmont Park, his U.S. debut. He was stakes-placed in England at 3. Trained by Bobby Frankel for Flaxman Holdings, Aldebaran has won 4 of 18 starts and $748,861.