02/01/2012 5:19PM

Santa Anita: Jaycito returns in Strub Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Jaycito will return to the races in Saturday's Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.

The Robert B. Lewis is one of three graded stakes on Saturday’s program at Santa Anita, joined by the $200,000 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on the main track and the $150,000 Arcadia Stakes over a mile on turf.

Tapizar, winner of the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes last month, will be a heavy favorite in the Strub Stakes, a key prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 3. Bob Baffert, who trains Liaison, has the two entrants who drew the inside in the field of eight in the Strub – Jaycito and Prayer for Relief.

Jaycito won the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes when trained by Mike Mitchell, but is winless in three subsequent starts. He has been plagued by injury and breathing problems. A start in the Strub Stakes would be his first since a fifth-place finish in an optional claimer at Del Mar in August. The breathing disorder was diagnosed following that race.

Mr. Commons, 4, drew the outside post in a field of eight in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes, a race in which he will attempt to beat older horses for the first time. Trained by John Shirreffs, Mr. Commons beat 3-year-olds in the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes over a mile on turf on Dec. 26, drawing off to win by 3 1/4 lengths as the even-money favorite.

Last summer and fall, Mr. Commons made three starts against older horses, including a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs in November. The Arcadia Stakes is the third of 10 races on Saturday’s program.

Rumor bled in Santa Monica

Rumor, sixth as the beaten favorite in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Stakes for fillies and mares over seven furlongs last Saturday, bled in the race, trainer Richard Mandella said.

A two-time stakes winner, Rumor led in the Santa Monica, but faded through the stretch to finish 7 3/4 lengths behind race winner Home Sweet Aspen.

“We’ll send her out for a couple of weeks,” Mandella said. “We won’t run her for a couple of months.”

Ascainio recovering at home

Trainer Humberto Ascanio, who suffered a stroke in late December, is continuing his recovery at home, according to his son, Matthew.

Ascanio, 64, was hospitalized until early January and disbanded his stable at that time to focus on rehabilitation. Matthew Ascanio said Wednesday that his father’s speech has improved in recent weeks, but that progress has been slow on regaining strength and movement on the right side of his body.

Matthew Ascanio said his father’s speech “is not 100 percent, but it’s a lot better. It takes time.”

As for regaining strength, Matthew Ascanio said, “that will take a while. I see him making progress every day.”

Humberto Ascanio is best known for his role as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Ascanio trained on his own following Frankel’s death in 2009.

Strub S. (G2), Post Time: 4:07 PT Saturday

Purse: $200,000; 1 1/8 miles





ML Odds



B. Baffert

M. Garcia



Prayer for Relief

B. Baffert

R. Bejarano



Beer Meister

M. Ortiz, Sr.

G. Corbett



Ultimate Eagle

M. Pender

M. Pedroza



Clubhouse Ride

C. Lewis

V. Espinoza



Indian Winter

J. Hollendorfer

J. Rosario




S. Asmussen

C. Nakatani




E. Harty

J. Talamo