Claimers vs. Graded Winners in the San Valanzuala (G2)

One of the biggest stakes races of the weekend is the Grade Two San Valenzuala Breeders Bowl Stakes. The race will be run at a mile and a sixteenth over a fast California dirt course. The field is an eclectic one with only four horses who have previously won at the graded level. Interestingly there are more horses who have run in claiming races – five – than graded winners. A number of the runners have changed hands either through claimers or the auction but it just goes to show that a young horse may not show his full potential early on. Let’s take a look at the field.

#1 Kymara Weekend 11/1

Kymara Weekend enters his first stakes race of any kind in this spot. The New York bred six year old was claimed by his current connections for $7,500 back in 2017. It is his last two starts that give them confidence entering him in this ambitious spot. He’s run two allowance races restricted to local breds and won both with lofty speeds. Both races were run at a mile and a sixteenth and in July he ran a 116 speed and then returned in October to win again with a 109 speed. He’s a deep closer and well rested off that last start.

#2 Tarozaemon 11/1

Tarozaemon has a similar profile to several runners in this spot. He’s an older (six year old) former claimer looking for his first stakes win. There are three horses that fit that profile but of them Tarozaemon has the fewest career starts with just twelve. He is also one who ran in a claimer but did not change hands. The son of Include has run in one previous stakes race. That was in March of 2019 when he finished fifth in a grade three. He’s made three starts since then with one win, a second and a third. His career best speed came in that win (an allowance at one mile) with a 114.

#3 Tierra Verde 7/1

Tierra Verde is making just his second career stakes run at the age of five. The five year old son of American Pharoah finished tenth in a listed back in April but he enters this spot off the performance of his life. He won a mile and a sixteenth allowance race with an eye catching 118 speed. The stalker has been on an improve as his previous two starts saw him jump from a 107 to a 109 speed but that 118 is really what gets him into this spot.

#4 Gabriel’s Tears 16/1

Gabriel’s Tears changed hands for $150,000 back in February 2019. The five year old son of Distorted Humor had run twice in stakes races, being well beaten in a grade three and then finishing fifth in a listed earlier in his career but with his breeding he was more than a bit of a disappointment. He’s run mostly in sprints since his claim and has had limited success. His only win for his new connections came in a one mile allowance back in August where he ran a 107 speed.

#5 Kymarc Delsim 82/1

Kymarc Delsim is a four year old gelded son of Wootton Bassett. He’s got one win from nine starts with two seconds. All of those in the money finishes came on the dirt but his win and one second came in sprints. He traded hands back in June of 2019 through the auction and has run his two seconds in the four starts he’s made for his new connections. His most recent race was a second in an allowance at 8.25 furlongs. He ran a 95 speed in that start which is around his average on dirt.

#6 Super Spun 24/1

Super Spun is a four year old son of Super Saver out of a grade two winning dam. She has been a bit of a disappointment as a broodmare but she won her grade two going seven furlongs on dirt as a two year old but did stretch out beyond a mile as a n older horse. Super Spun debuted in a $100,000 maiden claimer as a two year old in April of 2018. Luckily he was not picked up out of that race which he won. He improved in his next few starts enough to be entered in a grade one prep for the Breeders’ Bowl but his connections have always thought more highly of this colt than his talent has warranted. He’s run in seven stakes including several graded stakes and has yet to hit the board in any of them. Still he has won five races from his fifteen starts so he is a solid allowance runner. It is possible that he can improve as a four year old.

#7 Liquid Obsession 7/1

Liquid Obsession is the first runner in this race who has solid stakes credentials. The five year old son of Awesome Again is based on a grade one winning millionaire Double Dissolution who was second in the 2016 Bluegrass Derby. So he was born to have some chops. Liquid Obsession has spent a third of his career on the turf where he owns his only stakes win but his graded placing came as a three year old in a Bluegrass Derby prep. He’s also hit the board in several other dirt stakes races. He’s run a 115 or 116 speed in four of his last five starts which, admittedly you would expect to be a winning speed in a listed (which two of those races were) but the deep closer needs a bit of luck to get the win.

#8 Fiji Ice 13/1

Fiji Ice is a four year old son of Keen Ice and has the least amount of starts in the field. He’s got five wins from nine starts with three other on the board finishes. He does have a listed win to his name although that race came on an off track. He’s never run in a graded stakes before but off his last two starts this race makes a lot of sense for him. He’s run in two listeds, finishing second with a 116 speed back in October and third with a 114 speed in December.

#9 Hold the Door 5/1

Hold the Door is the first of our runners who already has a graded stakes badge next to his name. The six year old son of Medaglia D’oro is a very speedy miler who exits a run in the Grade One Sterile Mile where he was sixth after setting a fast early pace. Prior to that he was second by less than a length in two races, one was an allowance NW2Y and the other was a listed. The listed came first and he ran a 117 speed but dropped down to a 107 for the allowance. He has won a stakes race at a mile and a sixteenth but that came back in June 2018 and he’s only run beyond a mile twice since then.

#10 Maahes LV 9/2

Maahes LV is a five year old son of Pioneerof the Nile. He’s a late developer who made his first stakes start in June of 2019 and he won it easily with a 121 speed. All three of his most recent races have come at a mile and a sixteenth and his two most recent starts have been in grade threes where he was third in July and second in October. He ran 115 and 117 speeds respectively in those races and his stalking style should do well in this spot. He hasn’t raced since that October start so the question is whether he is ready to pop first off a long layoff or if he will need a start or two to get back into form.

#11 Clown Science 7/1

Clown Science is a six year old son of Macho Uno. He won his first stakes race last May, a grade three at a mile and a sixteenth with a 118 speed. Since then he has been off the board in five straight stakes races. His form has really fallen off in his last three starts where he finished tenth, ninth and tenth again. He did run a 109 speed in November in a residency restricted stakes race but that’s the highest speed he’s hit in that skein. With nine starts in 2019 alone Clown Science looks like a horse in need of a rest.

#12 Shamanda Jane 10/1

Shamanda Jane is a five year old son of Shamardal out of the Hall of Fame mare Amanda Jane. From fifteen foals she produced two grade one winners and two grade three winners, including Shamanda Jane who is her last foal. Shamanda Jane has only four victories from sixteen starts but that includes that grade three back in April of 2019. He ran a 117 speed in that race, a career best. He hasn’t hit that number or the board in four subsequent starts, all against graded company. His best race during that time came in November when he was fourth in a grade three going a mile with a 114 speed. He’s been off since that race so hopefully the rest will help him get back to those lofty numbers.

#13 Yankee Pharoah 12/1

Yankee Pharoah is the only horse in the field with a grade two victory to his credit. The four year old son of American Pharoah earned that distinction in last season’s Fountain of Ute, an important Bluegrass Derby prep at a mile and one eighth. He earned enough points to make it to the Derby but that distance seemed to be a bit too far for him. He earned a career best speed of 113 later in the season while going a mile and a sixteenth in another grade two before running a 110 speed when fifth in the Breeders’ Bowl Dirt Mile. He concluded 2019 in the Grade One Japan Dirt Cup where he was off the board.

#14 Dabulamanzi 14/1

We conclude our field the same way we started it – with a six year old son of Point Given is a former claimer looking for his first career stakes victory. Dabulmanzi has been offered for a tag three times, including his two most recent starts but there were never any takers. He has run twice in stakes races without hitting the board. The last was a grade three in April at a mile and a sixteenth where he ran seventh with a 109 speed. He ran a co-career best speed of 112 in August in a $125,000 claiming event where he led early on before tiring to finish second. He didn’t reappear until November when he was off the board in another claimer after he failed to take the early lead.

Good luck to all.

One thought on “Claimers vs. Graded Winners in the San Valanzuala (G2)

  • January 11, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for the great preview Spinround. Yankee Pharoah has been struggling. He got a good jockey for him that I hope can get him back on the boards.

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