01/21/2008 12:00AM

Champs Elysees shows family class


ARCADIA, Calif. - Champs Elysees did what a 2-5 shot was supposed to do in Saturday's $150,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita. He won the Grade 2 race with a stretch-long rally, a victory that made him the fifth member of his illustrious family to win a graded stakes in the United States.

A full brother to the champion Banks Hill (who earned $1,824,008), Cacique ($1,462,331), and Intercontinental ($2,052,463), and a half-brother to Heat Haze ($1,183,696), Champs Elysees won the San Marcos Stakes in his second American start.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Champs Elysees ($2.80) rallied from last in a field of six to win the San Marcos by 1 1/4 lengths over Rocket Legs. A 5-year-old horse, Champs Elysees ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:00.88.

Gomez brought Champs Elysees four wide on the final turn and reached the front in the final furlong as the horse drifted to the inside. "When he got to his right lead, he just went right on with it," Gomez said.

Rocket Legs, making his stakes debut, finished a head in front of Obrigado, the winner of the Grade 2 2007 San Luis Obispo Handicap.

Trained by Bobby Frankel for Juddmonte Farms, Champs Elysees was a Group 3 stakes winner in France last May.

Frankel said the horse will be raced sparingly through the winter. By Danehill out of Hasili, he is considered a candidate for the major races of the second half of the year, such as the Arlington Million and the Breeders' Cup Turf.

"I don't want to run him too much early in the year," Frankel said.

Frankel thinks that Champs Elysees wants longer distances.

"This race is a little short for him," he said.