04/07/2011 2:56PM

Santa Anita: Little separates Caracortado, Jeranimo in Arcadia


ARCADIA, Calif. – There was a half-length between Caracortado and Jeranimo when they finished second and third behind Fluke in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 5. There is a good chance that little will separate Caracortado and Jeranimo at the finish of Saturday’s $150,000 Arcadia Stakes.

The two evenly-matched horses are stakes winners at the current Santa Anita meeting – Jeranimo in the San Gabriel Stakes in December, Caracortado in the Sunshine Millions Turf in January – and will dominate the betting in the Grade 2 Arcadia, which drew a field of seven. Because of his head loss to Fluke, Caracortado will be favored.

SANTA ANITA DERBY DAY: Read Brad Free's analysis and watch full card live

Caracortado breaks from the rail, but that is not a major concern for trainer Mike Machowsky.

“He’s got a turn of foot and can get out of any trouble,” Machowsky said.

The trainer would prefer to see Caracortado closer to the pace in the first half of the race than he was in the Kilroe, when he was six off the pace until the quarter pole. Co-owned by Machowsky and Blahut Racing, Caracortado unleashed an eye-catching rally under jockey Joe Talamo that just missed catching Fluke.

“I don’t want to see him that far back,” Machowsky said. “He just got beat by a good horse.”

Machowsky said on Thursday that he wants to use the Arcadia as a prep for the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill on May 7, a race that Pender has mentioned as a possible goal for Jeranimo.

Jeranimo raced in mid-pack in the Kilroe, was passed to Caracortado in the stretch, but still ran well to finish a clear third. Trainer Mike Pender was relieved that Jeranimo ran that well, following a dull fourth behind Caracortado in the Sunshine Millions Turf as the 7-5 favorite.

“The Sunshine Millions was an aberration,” Pender said. “He ran his race in the Kilroe, but it wasn’t his best race. There’s still more in the tank.”

Pender is convinced that Jeranimo, who is owned by B.J. Wright, ran his best turf race in his first start on the surface at Hollywood Park last November, winning an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles and beating Fluke, who is being pointed for the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland next weekend.

If Jeranimo can repeat that performance, he can win the Arcadia, Pender said.

“It was the way he did it,” Pender said of the November race. “He won with so much in reserve. He parlayed that into the San Gabriel.”

Both Caracortado and Jeranimo are expected to stalk a pace that will be set by Liberian Freighter, the 6-year-old gelding who is a multiple stakes winner. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Liberian Freighter won the restricted Brubaker Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Del Mar last summer by leading throughout in a slow pace.

Liberian Freighter later pulled a 22-1 upset in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile at Hollywood Park in October, but has lost his last three starts. Liberian Freighter was near the front in the Kilroe last month, but faded to finish eighth.

Leroy’s Dynameaux, second in the Joe Hernandez Stakes for turf sprinters on March 18, is a threat as a stalker.

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