02/09/2013 8:16PM

Santa Anita: Slim Shadey enables Stevens to win first stakes since 2005 in San Marcos

Benoit & Associates
Slim Shadey, under 49-year-old Gary Stevens, gets away with an uncontested early lead and goes all the way to snap a three-race losing streak in the San Marcos.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Slim Shadey and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens had stakes-winning comebacks in Saturday’s $151,750 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita.

Stevens, who resumed riding full-time after a retirement of more than seven years on Jan. 6, won his first stakes since October 2005 when Slim Shadey led throughout the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Slim Shadey ($13.40) ended a three-race losing streak that included an eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf here in November. Slim Shadey won the2012 San Marcos, and is the first horse to win two runnings in the 61-year history of the race.

Saturday, Slim Shadey was unchallenged on the lead, leaving Stevens confident that he was the winner early in the race. Slim Shadey led by as many as three lengths through early fractions of 24.19 and 48.20 seconds.

“When we went under the wire the first time, I thought, if they leave me alone until the middle of the backstretch, this race is over,” Stevens said.

Slim Shadey held an advantage of 1 1/2 lengths on the backstretch, and held off a late threat from 7-2 favorite Interaction to win by a length in 1:59.17.

“You want to stay out of his way and let him be his own man,” Stevens said of Slim Shadey.

Interaction, second in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup in December, finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of All Squared Away, best known for winning the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes in an upset at Keeneland last April.

Fire With Fire was fourth, followed by Huntsville, Juniper Pass, Fast Track, Shaun Washington, Temple’s Door, Richard’s Kid, Bridge of Gold, and Golden Itiz in the field of 12. Dreamcatcher and Smart Ellis were scratched early Saturday.

Slim Shadey, a 5-year-old British-bred gelding by Val Royal, has won three Grade 2 races over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita. He won the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship in September as a prep for the BC Turf.

Trained by Simon Callaghan for breeder Phil Cunningham, Slim Shadey has won 5 of 26 starts and $613,850.

“Gary gave him a perfect ride,” Callaghan said. “That’s the way he likes to run. Don’t mess with him, and let him do his thing.”

The win was the first in a stakes for the 49-year-old Stevens since Rock Hard Ten won the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap here in October 2005. The victory helped Stevens shake off a somewhat frustrating first month of his comeback. Through Saturday, he had won 2 races, and had been second 11 times with 34 mounts.

“I’ve had a bad case of seconditis,” Stevens said. “This was a good race to have it turn around.”