03/25/2017 9:03PM

Baze gives Itsinthepost perfect ride in San Luis Rey

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Benoit & Associates
Itsinthepost earns his first stakes win under Tyler Baze in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Tyler Baze left the starting gate of Saturday’s Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes at Santa Anita with the intent of keeping his mount, Itsinthepost, close to the leaders throughout the turf marathon at 1 1/2 miles.

The harassing tactics proved successful.

Itsinthepost chased pacesetter, and 6-5 favorite, Ashleyluvssugar, down the backstretch before taking the lead in early stretch. From there, Itsinthepost held off a brief threat from 27-1 Syntax to win the $202,415 race by a length for his first career stakes win.

“The race shaped up like we thought it would,” trainer Jeff Mullins said. “Tyler’s instructions were to stay on the heels of the leaders. Tyler applied some pressure and it worked out.

“We weren’t sure if he could go a mile and a half and he had to prove it.”

Itsinthepost ($15.60) was timed in 2:25.43. Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, Itsinthepost has won 4 of 24 starts and earned $362,712. The win ended a frustrating first few months of the year for owner Jed Cohen and his family and Mullins with Itsinthepost, a 5-year-old gelding.

On Jan. 7, Itsinthepost was second in the Grade 3 San Gabriel Stakes on a sloppy main track. On Feb. 4, Itsinthepost was second in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes by a half-length after leading in the stretch.

Itsinthepost disputed the pace throughout the San Marcos. Baze took a slightly more patient approach in the San Luis Rey.

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Ashleyluvssugar, who won the 2015 San Luis Rey, led by as many as 2 1/2 lengths after a half-mile in 48.80 seconds. Itsinthepost moved closer to Ashleyluvssugar as the field entered the backstretch. At that point, Baze was confident of his chances, but wondered how his mount would fare in the longest race of his career.

 “I wanted to let them know I was there the whole way,” Baze said. “I didn’t know if he had a turn of foot.”

Syntax finished 1 3/4 lengths in front of Ashleyluvssugar, who won the California Cup Turf Classic for statebreds in January.

Liam the Charmer finished fourth, followed by Texas Ryano, Power Foot, Inordinate, Papacoolpapacool, Buster Douglas, Some In Tieme, Site Read, and Flamboyant.

Itsinthepost, a gelding by the Bering stallion American Post, was bred in France and won his final start in that country in September 2014 in an allowance race. Itsinthepost was trained by Darrell Vienna when his American career began in the summer of 2015. Itsinthepost was winless in 10 starts before being transferred to Mullins in the spring of 2016 after Vienna’s retirement.

For Mullins, Itsinthepost has won 3 of 9 starts and has never been worse than fourth.