Updated on 09/28/2012 3:59PM

Santa Anita: Arroyo Seco draws Japanese shipper Trailblazer

Shigeki Kikkawa
Trailblazer will make his American debut in the Arroyo Seco Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The $150,000 Arroyo Seco Mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 6 will have an international flavor.

Trailblazer, the winner of two Grade 2 races in Japan in the last year, will make his American debut in the Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile, using the race as a prep for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf here on Nov. 3.

He will face two formidable California-based rivals in the stakes winners Obviously and Mr. Commons, who were first and second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on Aug. 26. Jeranimo, third in that race and the winner of the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile earlier this year, will pass the Arroyo Seco Mile and make his next start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf on Nov. 3, trainer Mike Pender said.

Trailblazer, a 5-year-old by Zenno Rob Roy trained by Yasutoshi Ikee, has not started since finishing ninth in the Grade 2 Meguro Kinen in Tokyo on May 27. The winner of the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Feb. 12, Trailblazer was fourth in the Japan Cup last November.

The Arroyo Seco Mile will be the shortest race of Trailblazer’s career. He will be ridden by regular jockey Yutake Take, who will be in Southern California through the next week.

Thursday at Hollywood Park, Trailblazer worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds, the fastest of eight works at the distance.

In the Arroyo Seco Mile, Trailblazer will be in pursuit of the speedy Obviously, and must hold off a late closer in Mr. Commons.

Trained by John Shirreffs, Mr. Commons was fifth in the BC Mile at Churchill Downs last fall and has since won two Grade 2 races – the Sir Beaufort Stakes last December and the Arcadia Stakes in February. Mr. Commons is winless in his last four starts, although Shirreffs said he was encouraged by the nose loss to Obviously in the Del Mar Mile.

Brice Blanc rode Mr. Commons for the first time in the Del Mar Mile, and will retain the mount, Shirreffs said.

“He really showed us what we wanted to see,” Shirreffs said of the 4-year-old’s race.