Hot Rod Charlie Back For More In Sunday’s San Antonio

One of America’s most consistent and talented 3-year-olds throughout 2021, Hot Rod Charlie heads a field of seven 3-year-olds and up in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita. An iconic prep for the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, the San Antonio will be run for the 84th time and is one of six graded stakes on a blockbuster 11-race Opening Day program.

Most recently fourth, beaten 4 ½ lengths by presumptive Horse of the Year Knicks Go in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 6, Hot Rod Charlie has been a gem of consistency, while on occasion very unlucky, for O’Neill. A handy winner of the G1 Pennsylvania Derby two starts back on Sept. 25, he was disqualified from a hard fought nose victory three starts back in the G1 Haskell Invitational.

A massive second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by A-Lister Essential Quality in the G1 Belmont Stakes June 5, he was a troubled third, beaten one length by Medina Spirit in the G1 Kentucky Derby five starts back on May 1.

A winner of the G2 Louisiana Derby in his second start of the year on March 20, Hot Rod Charlie is 7-2-1-2 on the year, with 2021 earnings of $2,087,500. Owned by Boat Racing, LLC, Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck), Roadrunner Racing & William Strauss, Hot Rod Charlie will reportedly use the San Antonio as a prep to the G1 Dubai World Cup in March.

Freshened since running third to Medina Spirit in the G1 Awesome Again Stakes Oct. 2, C R K Stable’s Express Train has been in the money in six out of his seven career starts at Santa Anita and rates a big chance off the bench. Trained by John Shirreffs, Express Train’s last win came three starts back in the G2 San Diego Handicap on July 17. With an overall mark of 14-4-4-3, this 4-year-old colt by Union Rags has earnings of $695,800.

A half-length winner of the G3 Native Diver Handicap on Nov. 20, Bob Baffert’s Azul Coast could rate second billing as he seeks his second graded stakes win. Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Azul Coast, who has four wins from 10 starts, will be ridden for the first time by John Velazquez.

THE GRADE 2 SAN ANTONIO WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 6 of 11 Approximate post time 1:30 p.m. PT

  1. Extra Hope—Tyler Baze–121
  2. Express Train—Victor Espinoza—125
  3. Go On—Mario Gutierrez–119
  4. Hot Rod Charlie—Flavien Prat—123
  5. Eight Rings—John Velazquez—121
  6. Kiss Today Goodbye—Kent Desormeaux—121
  7. Azul Coast—Juan Hernandez–123

First post time for an 11-race Opening Day card Sunday is 11 a.m. Admission gates will open at 9 a.m.

The post Hot Rod Charlie Back For More In Sunday’s San Antonio appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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