04/16/2017 7:31PM

Aristocratic leads throughout in San Pedro Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Aristocratic won by 4 1/2 lengths over Bobby Abu Dhabi in the San Pedro.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A well-behaved Aristocratic proved impossible to catch in Sunday’s $77,500 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters at Santa Anita.

In his second stakes appearance, Aristocratic ($10.60) led throughout the race at six furlongs, winning by 4 1/2 lengths over even-money favorite Bobby Abu Dhabi. Aristocratic was timed in 1:10.09.

The result was a turnaround from the Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 4, when Aristocratic was upset at the gate before the start and failed to make the lead. He finished sixth of seven in the Gazebo.

Trainer Doug O’Neill said Sunday that Aristocratic was schooled extensively in the starting gate at Santa Anita through March and early April to correct the issue.

“It paid off today,” O’Neill said. “He broke running.

“He was training as good as ever and we wanted to make sure the gate schooling paid off.”

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Aristocratic held a slight advantage in a line of four within a half-length of the lead through an opening quarter-mile in 21.67 seconds. After a half-mile in 44.84, Aristocratic led by a length, a margin that extended to 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining.

“I knew there would be a lot of speed,” Bejarano said. “He wants to be on the lead and in control of the race.

“Everything went well after the break. When I got to the stretch, I thought I had a shot.”

Bobby Abu Dhabi finished four lengths in front of Big League, who was followed by Rebel War and Taxman’s Quest in the small field.

Aristocratic, a colt by Malibu Moon, is owned by Kaleem Shah and was bought for $475,000 at the 2016 March Ocala Breeders’ Sale of 2-year-olds in training. Aristocratic has won 2 of 5 starts and has earned $99,950. He was trained by Bob Baffert last year, and made his debut for Baffert when second in a maiden race at Los Alamitos in December.

Aristocratic was part of a group of runners that went from Baffert to O’Neill in January after Shah and Baffert parted ways.

O’Neill said Aristocratic will be considered for the Grade 3 Laz Barrera for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs May 13.