12/23/2013 8:09AM

Santa Anita: No Jet Lag rested for Sir Beaufort Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
No Jet Lag wins the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 5.

ARCADIA, Calif. – For a gelding who won only a couple of minor races in England, No Jet Lag has seen expectations surrounding him rise rapidly since he arrived in the United States. There is no sign of that stopping in Thursday’s $200,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes at Santa Anita.

No Jet Lag won his first two starts in California, including the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 5, before finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 2.

Those races led trainer Simon Callaghan to give No Jet Lag an autumn break, focusing on the Sir Beaufort Stakes for a comeback. The Grade 2 Sir Beaufort, run at a mile on turf for 3-year-olds, is essentially the start of a 2014 campaign that Callaghan and owner Anthony Ramsden of England hope will lead to a return engagement in the BC Mile next November.

In recent weeks, Callaghan’s focus has been teaching No Jet Lag to be patient in morning exercise. Callaghan said he was discouraged when No Jet Lag raced close to a quick pace in the Mile before finishing six lengths behind the victorious Wise Dan.

“I think maybe he got a little rank early on and put himself into the race earlier than we would have liked,” Callaghan said. “He sat close to a fast pace. That’s why we’re looking to take him back. The plan was to give him a break after the Breeders’ Cup. We’ve been happy with him since. His works have been good, and he’s been rating. It’s a perfect spot for him to start back since the Breeders’ Cup.”

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Joel Rosario, riding at Santa Anita on Thursday before returning to Gulfstream Park in Florida, rides No Jet Lag for the first time in the Sir Beaufort. Mike Smith, who was aboard No Jet Lag for the City of Hope Mile and the BC Mile, will ride Tom’s Tribute.

Trained by Jim Cassidy, Tom’s Tribute is one of seven 2013 stakes winners in the field of 10. Tom’s Tribute won the minor Uniformity Stakes for 3-year-olds on the hillside turf course on Oct. 20 in his stakes debut.

Dice Flavor and Tiz a Minister are the most accomplished runners of 2013 in the field. Dice Flavor won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields in February and the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar in August. Trained by Paddy Gallagher, Dice Flavor was eighth in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

Tiz a Minister won the $300,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita last January and the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in June. Trained by Paul Aguirre, Tiz a Minister was third in the California Flag Handicap on the hillside turf course in October, his turf stakes debut.

Gervinho won a division of the Oceanside Stakes at a mile on turf at Del Mar in July and later was third in the Twilight Derby and fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at 1 1/4 miles on turf on Dec. 1. The Sir Beaufort’s distance is a better fit for Gervinho, who races for Santa Anita chairman Keith Brackpool and trainer Carla Gaines.

“I think his best races are over a mile,” Gaines said.