01/11/2013 4:33PM

Santa Anita: Slim Shadey keeping it (relatively) short this year

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Benoit & Associates
Slim Shadey turns back to 1 1/8 miles for the San Gabriel.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The days of racing at 1 1/2 miles are over for Slim Shadey, a two-time stakes winner in 2012.

For 2013, Slim Shadey will be kept to races at 1 1/8 miles and 1 1/4 miles on turf, beginning with Sunday’s $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita.

“I think the distance is slightly better for him,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “He’s training really well for this race.”

Last year, Slim Shadey, 5, ran in turf races from a mile to 1 1/2 miles. He won two Grade 2 stakes at 1 1/4 miles here – the San Marcos Stakes in February and the John Henry Turf Championship in September. A gelding owned by Phil Cunningham, Slim Shadey raced at 1 1/2 miles in his final two starts of 2012, finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, and fourth in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 15.

Callaghan said that in the BC Turf “the competition was too good.”

In the Hollywood Turf Cup, Slim Shadey led into the stretch before finishing 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Grandeur.

“We wanted to conclusively know for sure,” he said of the distance. “We can’t have any complaints. He went sensible fractions and didn’t see the distance out.”

The San Gabriel is a race that Slim Shadey can win. He must beat the speedy Chosen Miracle, who is running in the longest race of his career, and Jeranimo, the winner of the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park last June.

Callaghan said the race is a prep for the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes on Feb. 9.

“Looking at the competition, it’s a pretty good spot,” he said. “I think he’ll go with a really good chance.

“It’s essentially a building block, but it’s a good spot. There is no standout.”