01/04/2012 4:44PM

Santa Anita: Utopian getting stakes, surface test in San Pasqual

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An appearance in Saturday’s $150,000 San Pasqual Stakes will be an experiment for Utopian, a 5-year-old gelding trained by John Shirreffs.

Utopian will make his stakes debut in the Grade 2 San Pasqual, having won two of six starts for owners Jerry and Ann Moss. The wins came in a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs on the synthetic track at Del Mar last July and an optional claimer over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25, Utopian’s most recent start.

The San Pasqual Stakes is run over 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

“I want to see how he likes the change in surface,” Shirreffs said. “We think he wants to go a distance. A mile and a sixteenth might be a little short for him. If he runs well, it opens up a lot of options.”

Specifically, a successful race in the San Pasqual Stakes could lead to a start in the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 5 or the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on March 3. A disappointing race would likely result in Utopian racing on turf in coming months.

The San Pasqual Stakes drew a field of eight, including Tres Borrachos, Tweebster, and Massone, the second through fourth finishers in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park on Dec. 3.

Native Diver winner Kettle Corn is a notable absentee from the list of San Pasqual entrants.

Trainer John Sadler said earlier this week that Kettle Corn is likely to make one start on turf at this meeting, most likely in February, before a potential trip to Dubai for the $1 million Godolphin Mile on March 31.

Thiskyhasnolimit, a four-time stakes winner for trainer Steve Asmussen, was nominated for the San Pasqual, but will not start. Thisskyhasnolimit worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 on Wednesday.

h2> San Pasqual S. (G2), Post Time: 1:31 PT Saturday

Purse: $150,000; 1 1/16 mile

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Skipshot

J. Hollendorfer

J. Talamo

12-1

1

Thirtyfirststreet

D. O'Neill

H. Berrios

20-1

1

Java Man

J. Sadler

G. Gomez

4-1

1

Tweebster

B. Baffert

R. Bejarano

3-1

1

Utopian

J. Shirreffs

C. Sutherland

6-1

1

Tres Borrachos

M. Jones

J. Rosario

5-2;

1

Uh Oh Bango

R. Owens

M. Smith

9-2

1

Massone

T. Yakteen

M. Garcia

8-1