A field of six, led by Acclimate (Acclamation) and Masteroffoxhounds (War Front), goes postward in the GII San Marcos S. Saturday at Santa Anita. The 1 1/4-mile turf race had originally been scheduled for Jan. 30, but was pushed back to avoid the winter rainstorm which hit Arcadia a week ago.
Rockingham Ranch's Masteroffoxhounds will be making his third stateside appearance in the San Marcos. The bay colt, a maiden winner in Ireland last summer, was seventh going one mile in his U.S. debut last November. He powered home to a 4 1/4-length victory in a 1 3/8-mile optional claimer at Del Mar Nov. 28 in his most recent start.
Acclimate won the 2019 GIII San Juan Capistrano S. and GII Del Mar H. and was second over the San Marcos course and distance in that year's GII John Henry Turf Classic. He made only one start in 2020, finishing fourth in the Nov. 27 GII Hollywood Turf Cup, and he was third as the 9-5 favorite in his 2021 debut while facing fellow Cal-breds in the nine-furlong Unusual Heat Turf Classic S. Jan. 16.
“It's a rather quick comeback for Acclimate, but I had this race in the back of my mind for him,” said trainer Phil D'Amato. “It was hard to pass up $200 grand against Cal-breds [in the Unusual Heat], but at the same he's coming back at a distance he prefers [in the San Marcos]. I always had this race planned for him, if he came out of the Unusual Heat in good shape, and he really has, so we'll look to wheel him back going a mile and a quarter.”
D'Amato will also saddle Salvator Mundi (Artie Schiller) in the San Marcos. Claimed for $40,000 at Keeneland in September of 2019 has won twice in seven starts since for D'Amato. The 5-year-old gelding was most recently third in a one-mile optional claimer at Santa Anita Jan. 8 and he will be making his third stakes appearance Saturday.
“He's just kind of learning where he needs to be placed to be most effective,” D'Amato said of Salvator Mundi, who stalked the pace before weakening to finish sixth in the GII John Henry Turf Classic last September. “I think he merits another chance at a 1 1/4 miles for sure, the way he's come out of that race.”