Updated on 09/17/2011 8:50PM

License to Run wins San Luis Obispo

License To Run and jockey Patrick Valenzuela fly through the mud to take victory in the Grade III, $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap on Saturday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Despite a surface switch from turf to dirt, License to Run lived up to his role as the favorite in Saturday's $150,000 at Santa Anita.

Making his first start on dirt in more than a year, License to Run ($5) overcame pressure from several rivals to win by five lengths, finishing 1 1-2 miles on a sloppy track in 2:28.72. The race was transferred from turf to dirt because of persistent rain.

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, License to Run was always near the pace. He was challenged by T.H. Approval and Sigfreto in the first quarter-mile, Continental Red after a half-mile and Californian on the final turn before pulling away.

Entering the stretch, License to Run veered out, but Valenzuela was able to get the 5-year-old horse under control in a matter of strides.

Californian, the longest shot in the field of eight at 45-1, rallied from last to finish second, a neck in front of T.H. Approval. Continental Red, the millionaire 9-year-old gelding, faded to finish last after leading early.

License to Run's win marked the horse's first stakes win in the U.S. and trainer Bobby Frankel's third victory in the San Luis Obispo.

License to Run has won 5 of 11 starts and $155,884 for TNT Stud. He was a two-time stakes winner on turf in Brazil last year and won two overnight races on dirt in that country.