Comebacking Mucho Gusto Draws Services Of John Velazquez In Saturday's San Antonio - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Comebacking Mucho Gusto Draws Services Of John Velazquez In Saturday’s San Antonio

Mucho Gusto, under Irad Ortiz Jr., in the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle after the 2020 Pegasus World Cup

A winner of more than $3.1 million this year, Bob Baffert's Mucho Gusto, idle since Feb. 29, heads a field of eight 3-year-olds and up going a mile and one sixteenth in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita. One of five graded stakes on an 11-race program, the San Antonio, long a traditional prep to the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, will be contested for the 83rd time on Saturday.

A winner of the G` Pegasus World Cup Invitational two starts back at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25, Mucho Gusto was a respectable fourth behind stablemate Maximum Security in the G1 $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29 and will be ridden for the first time on Saturday by eastern-based John Velazquez.

Jay Em Ess Stable's homebred Extra Hope comes off an emphatic gate to wire score in the G3 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar and seeks his third consecutive win for Richard Mandella and jockey Juan Hernandez.

Mark Glatt's versatile Sharp Samurai, an earner of more than $1.1 million, comes off a solid third place finish in the G1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and rates a huge chance at age six.

MUCHO GUSTO

Owner: HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Fourth, beaten 2 ¾ lengths in the Saudi Cup, Mucho Gusto is 12-6-2-2 overall. A 4-year-old colt by Mucho Macho Man, he should show plenty of his customary early zip in his first start in nearly nine months as Baffert seeks his record seventh San Antonio win.

EXTRA HOPE

Owner: Jay Em Ess Stable

Trainer: Richard Mandella

Unbeaten in two starts with hot-riding Juan Hernandez, Extra Hope, a 4-year-old colt by Shanghai Bobby, certainly rates as a “now” commodity. A gate to wire winner of the Native Diver, he'll no doubt be forwardly placed as he cuts back in distance a sixteenth of a mile. The San Antonio will be Extra Hope's fourth start of 2020 as he tries to improve upon an overall mark of 14-4-2-3.

SHARP SAMURAI

Owner : Red Baron's Barn LLC, Rancho Temescal LLC and Mark Glatt

Trainer: Mark Glatt

A winner of seven of 18 turf starts while second five times and third twice, Sharp Samurai will be making his second consecutive start on dirt, a surface that he's now 5-1-1-1 over. A solid second two starts back in the G2 City of Hope over the Santa Anita turf Oct. 3, he was beaten 3 ½ lengths in the G1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 7 and with his class and tactical speed, rates a big chance in the San Antonio.

THE GRADE II SAN ANTONIO WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 7 of 11 Approximate post time 2 p.m. PT

  1. Take the One O One—Jose Valdivia, Jr.—121
  2. Kiss Today Goodbye—Mike Smith—119
  3. Extra Hope—Juan Hernandez—123
  4. Sharp Samurai—Flavien Prat—121
  5. Combatant—Ricardo Santana, Jr.—123
  6. Midcourt—Victor Espinoza—123
  7. Idol—Gabriel Saez–119
  8. Mucho Gusto—John Velazquez—124

Although there is no public admittance, fans can watch and wager via 1st.com/Bet and they can watch all of Santa Anita's races free of charge at santaanita.com/live. Special early first post time on Saturday is at 11 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

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