Updated on 09/16/2011 7:51AM

Nazirali wins San Luis Obispo


ARCADIA, Calif. - An upset win by Nazirali in Saturday's $200,000 * at Santa Anita did more to confuse than clarify California's marathon turf division.

Nazirali ($16) won the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap in his stakes debut.

Denon, the winner of the Hollywood Derby last November, finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite after being trapped on the rail on the final turn.

Nazirali benefited from an ideal trip from jockey Brice Blanc. Last of seven for the first mile, Nazirali circled the frontrunners on the final turn and fought past three challengers to win by a neck from an unlucky Continental Red.

"When I started to pick it up in the last three-eighths of a mile, he responded," Blanc said.

Trained by Julio Canani, Nazirali finished 1 1-2 miles on turf in 2:26.09.

Owned by Michael House, Nazirali has won 3 of 6 starts and $172,855. Imported from France last year, he was making his third start in the U.S., following a victory and a second in allowance races.

"The other day he was very rank," Canani said. "I trained him a little longer. He was more settled today. Maybe the favorite didn't run his race, but mine did."

Continental Red, second by a nose in the San Marcos Stakes last month, finished a neck in front of Bonapartiste, who was followed by Ringaskiddy, Denon, Hataab and Apache Wings, the longtime leader.

Denon was fourth at the end of the backstretch on the rail behind Apache Wings. When the leader faded from the front, Denon's progess was stopped dramatically, ending his chances for a win.

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