02/01/2017 2:50PM

San Marcos Stakes likely spot for Conquest Daddyo

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Barbara D. Livingston
Conquest Daddyo makes his California debut this weekend.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Conquest Daddyo, who won a stakes at Woodbine at 2 and last year at 3, makes his California debut at Santa Anita this weekend.

Trainer John Sadler said Conquest Daddyo will run in the $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf Saturday or in an optional claimer Sunday. Sadler hoped to run Conquest Daddyo in the San Gabriel Stakes here Jan. 7, but the colt was scratched when the race was transferred from turf to dirt because of wet weather.

“He’s going to run for sure this weekend,” Sadler said. “He’s been ready to run since the San Gabriel. He acts like a nice horse. We’ll see how good he is this week.”

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Owned by Pete and Kosta Hronis, Conquest Daddyo was purchased for $120,000 at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale from the dispersal of Conquest Stables. Conquest Daddyo has won 3 of 10 starts and earned $311,891 for Conquest Stables and trainer Mark Casse.

A 4-year-old by Scat Daddy, Conquest Daddyo won the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine in September 2015 and the Toronto Cup last July. Conquest Daddy was eighth in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 8, his latest start.

“He looks pretty comfortable at a mile and an eighth to a mile and a quarter,” Sadler said.

Luis Contreras, a former leading rider in Canada who is based in Southern California this winter, will ride Conquest Daddyo.

The field for the San Marcos is expected to be led by Texas Ryano, who won the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar in November, and Hayabusa One, a fast-closing fourth in his stakes debut in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Dec. 3.

Sadler has two candidates for Saturday’s $300,000 San Antonio Stakes – the stakes winners Accelerate and Hard Aces. The Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes is run at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, a sixteenth shorter than in past years. Hoppertunity, who won the race in 2016, is the probable favorite for trainer Bob Baffert.

The two other stakes on Saturday – the $200,000 Palos Verdes at six furlongs and the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles – will have small fields.

St. Joe Bay, the winner of the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes in a dead heat Dec. 31, will try to win his third consecutive start in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes. The multiple New York stakes winner Stallwalkin’ Dude was being considered for the Palos Verdes but won’t be coming, according to Santa Anita racing officials.

Dangerfield, a well-beaten third in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity in December, is among those expected for the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

Sunday’s main race is the $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile. Champagne Room, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2016, makes her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here in November.

Champagne Room will face Unique Bella, the easy winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes at seven furlongs on Jan. 8. On Wednesday, Unique Bella breezed a half-mile in a bullet 47 seconds under jockey Mike Smith.