02/07/2013 3:03PM

Santa Anita: Interaction can step up in San Marcos


ARCADIA, Calif. – Considering the way trainer Ron McAnally’s South Americans imports are running this month, Interaction deserves to be favored in Saturday’s $150,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita.

Last Saturday, the McAnally-trained Suggestive Boy scored a convincing win in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes, vaulting to the fore of the California turf mile division.

Interaction could have the same role in the turf marathon division in coming months.

The winner of South America’s top race, the Group 1 Carlos Pellegrini Stakes, in Argentina in 2009, Interaction struggled last year in his first season with McAnally, winning 1 race in 6 starts – an optional claimer at Betfair Hollywood Park in June. But Interaction ended 2012 with a fast-closing second in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 15, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Grandeur.

McAnally’s enthusiasm was boosted by Suggestive Boy’s win, and he said that Interaction is doing equally as well. There is a difference between the two, though.

“The other horse is more aggressive,” McAnally said of Suggestive Boy’s training. “This horse is like an old cow. You can do anything with him. He does things easily.”

A closer, Interaction will be ridden by Joe Talamo, and may need a quick rally to win the San Marcos, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. “He comes from off the pace and he has a good turn of foot,” McAnally said.

Interaction has drawn the rail in a field of 14 that includes three stakes winners since the start of 2012 – defending champion Slim Shadey, All Squared Away, and Richard’s Kid. Seven of the other entrants have been second or third in a stakes since the start of 2012.

Richard’s Kid has won 11 of 39 starts and $2,301,385 but is racing on turf for only the second time in his career. He finished seventh in the 2009 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.

Interaction was a Group 1 stakes winner over about 1 1/4 miles on turf in Argentina in October 2009, and third to Slim Shadey at that distance in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship in September.

Slim Shadey was sixth as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf on Jan. 13. He was fourth in early stretch, but faded late after jockey Garrett Gomez feared that the 5-year-old gelding has taken a bad step. Slim Shadey was not injured in the incident.

“On the way home, he was full of himself,” trainer Simon Callaghan said.

Saturday, Gary Stevens rides Slim Shadey for the first time. Stevens is expected to have Slim Shadey near the lead, a style used to win the 2012 San Marcos.

“I think he needs to be forwardly placed when he can,” Callaghan said. “The two stakes he won he was on the lead the whole way.”

Slim Shadey finished three lengths behind an unlucky Juniper Pass in the San Gabriel. Juniper Pass was in traffic in early stretch and finished fourth to Jeranimo. The winner of the 2011 San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles on turf, Juniper Pass could have been in the first three with better racing luck in the San Gabriel, a race that was on the shorter side of best trip.