ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2015)—Second in two consecutive Grade I races, trainer Peter Miller’s 3-year-old Calculator seeks his first win in Saturday’s Grade I, $100,000 Sham Stakes at a flat mile. A field of eight sophomores has been engaged, as they head down the road to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
Second behind top rated 3-year-old American Pharoah in both the Grade I, seven furlong Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3 and the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles FrontRunner Stakes Sept. 27, the Florida-bred colt by In Summation has two seconds and a third from four starts. In his first try around two turns, Calculator was attentive to the pace when finishing 3 ¼ lengths behind American Pharoah in the FrontRunner.
Owned by Richard C. Pell, Calculator is out of the Alphabet Soup mare Back to Basics and is easily the leading Sham Stakes money earner with $133,500.
Miller will also saddle Rock Shandy, who comes off a third place finish in the Grade III, one mile turf Cecil B. DeMille Stakes at Del Mar on Nov. 30. A maiden special weight winner going a mile on grass two starts back on Nov. 7, the Kentucky-bred ridgling by Lemon Drop Kid will be making his fourth start and his first on dirt. He’s owned by Donegal Racing.
Finishing just a nose behind stablemate Rock Shandy in the DeMille, Miller’s third entrant is St. Joe Bay, who was a close third two starts back in the Grade III, seven furlong (polytrack) Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 15. A Florida-bred colt by the A.P. Indy stallion Saint Anddan, he was a 10 ½ length gate to wire maiden $75,000 winner going a flat mile at Santa Anita in his second start on Oct. 17.
Owned by Altimira Racing Stable and David Bernson, St. Joe Bay’s speed and proven ability to route on natural dirt stamp him a “live” contender in the Sham.
Florida invader Rockinatten could be the speed of the field as he pressed the pace and was a runaway 8 ¾ length maiden special weight winner going seven furlons at Gulfstream Park West on Oct. 26. Trained by Ralph Nicks, the Florida-bred gelding by the Dixie Union stallion High Cotton will try two turns for the first time in his fourth overall start. He’s owned by Nicks and Niall J. Brennan.
Trainer Jeff Mullins will be represented by a pair in the Sham—one mile turf maiden winner Papacoolpapacool and Hero Ten All, an impressive maiden special weight winner going one mile at Los Alamitos on Dec. 7.
Papacoolpapacool ran evenly when sixth, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the DeMille at Del Mar Nov. 30 and was a close third as a maiden in his second start, the one mile Oak Tree Juvenile turf Sept. 3. Owned by John Snedegar and Ali Nilforushan, the Kentucky-bred gelding by Temple City has made $60,850 from four starts.
Second, beaten 4 ¾ lengths by eventual Grade I winner Dortmund going 6 ½ furlongs in his debut on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, Hero Ten All will make his third start in the Sham. He’s owned by E.K. Gaylord, II.
A gate to wire maiden special weight winner going a mile on polytrack two starts back at Del Mar on Nov. 20, trainer Mark Casse’s Pioneerof the West was well beaten in the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes Dec. 27, but enjoys a seasoning advantage, as he’ll make his sixth overall start on Saturday. Owned by John Oxley, the bay colt by Pioneerof the Nile is among four Florida-breds in the Sham lineup.
Fifth, beaten 3 ½ lengths as the even money favorite in the one mile Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 6 at Golden Gate Fields, trainer Michael “Whitey” McCarthy’s Unblunted will hope to rebound in the Sham, which will be his fourth overall start. A Kentucky-bred colt by Sharp Humor, Unblunted broke his maiden two starts back going seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Oct. 18 and is owned by Slam Dunk Racing.
With all horses assigned 118 pounds, the complete field for the Sham Stakes, to be run as the sixth race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys in post position order: St. Joe Bay, Martin Pedroza; Pioneerof the West, Corey Nakatani; Rockinatten, Rafael Bejarano; Unblunted, Joe Talamo; Rock Shandy, Victor Espinoza; Papacoolpapacool, Fernando Perez; Calculator, Elvis Trujillo, and Hero Ten All, Tyler Baze.
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.