04/10/2016 7:35PM

Quick Casablanca surges from last to first in San Juan Capistrano

Shigeki Kikkawa
Quick Casablanca set a new course record as he won the San Juan Capistrano.

ARCADIA, Calif .- The $100,690 San Juan Capistrano Stakes at 1 7/8 miles on turf was the longest race of the 63-day winter-spring meeting at Santa Anita that ended on Sunday. It was over in arguably the shortest amount of time compared with other stakes at the meeting.

On the final turn, Quick Casablanca made a last-to-first move in a little more than a furlong under jockey Tyler Baze that clinched the victory in the Grade 3 stakes.

Quick Casablanca ($5.80) was favored in a field of seven and gave Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, 83, his fourth career win in the San Juan Capistrano. Previously, McAnally won the San Juan with John Henry (1980), Amerique (1998), and Interaction (2013).

The 8-year-old Quick Casablanca became the oldest winner of the San Juan Capistrano since 8-year-old Mashkour won for trainer Bobby Frankel in 1991. The win was McAnally’s first in a stakes since Miss Serendipity’s victory in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Del Mar in September 2014.

“He’s a nice horse,” McAnally said. “He’s an old horse and he’s a pro.

“He’s old, like me.”

 The San Juan Capistrano was run at its longest distance in its 76th running on Sunday. The race was scheduled for about 1 3/4 miles with a start on the hillside turf course, but was moved to the oval portion of the yielding turf course and extended to 1 7/8 miles because of Saturday’s rainstorm.

Baze gave Quick Casablanca a patient ride. The Chilean-bred horse was last for the first 1 1/2 miles of the race, stalking a slow pace set by Kenjisstorm. Baze moved Quick Casablanca to the outside of runners going into the final turn and got an immediate response, emerging with the lead before the stretch.

Quick Casablanca led by three lengths with a furlong to go and won by 2 3/4 lengths over 3-1 Generosidade, a 7-year-old mare who won the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes on March 13. Quick Casablanca was timed in 3:19.58, establishing a course record.

“To do it for Mr. McAnally is really special,” Baze said. “In the paddock, Mr. McAnally said gallop the first lap. He was really flying in the last three-eighths.”

Life’s Journey, a 14-1 outsider, finished third, followed by Energia Fribby, Cardiac, Generoso, and Kenjistorm.

After the race, Cardiac propped while being ridden back to be unsaddled, unseating jockey Fernando Perez, who fell heavily. Perez was attended to by ambulance personnel and later transferred to a local hospital. His condition was not immediately known.

Quick Casablanca races for Pedro Gomez of Chile, whom McAnally said he has never met. Quick Casablanca has won 5 of 28 starts and earned $749,160. Quick Casablanca won two Group 1 races in Chile in 2012. He was sent to the United States in the winter of 2012-13 and raced for trainer Christophe Clement in 2013, going winless in five starts in New York, all stakes.

Quick Casablanca joined McAnally’s stable in early 2014 and won his California debut in the Grade 3 Last Tycoon Stakes here in April 2014. Quick Casablanca lost 10 subsequent starts before his win in the San Juan Capistrano.