Thursday, January 7, 2010

Historic San Pasqual Handicap Saturday at Santa Anita

Ack Ack, shown here winning the 1971 Hollywood Gold Cup, kicked off an amazing year with the 1971 San Pasqual Handicap. He went on to win the San Carlos Handicap, San Antonio Handicap, Santa Anita Handicap, American Handicap and Gold Cup, earning the first Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year.

The San Pasqual Handicap has been run since 1935 and has been won by such outstanding runners as Ack Ack, Alphabet Soup, Ancient Title, Congaree, Native Diver, Precisionist, Pretense, and Silver Charm.

Like many of Santa Anita's stakes races, the San Pasqual is named for a Mexican land grant. The 14,000-acre El Rancho San Pasqual embraced almost all of what is now Pasadena, South Pasadena, Altadena and San Marino.

The rancho was originally granted to Eulalia Perez de Guillen on Easter, 1826, for her many years of service as keeper of the keys at Mission San Gabriel. She traded the land for her freedom from an arranged marriage and a small cottage near the mission. After passing through several hands, the deed ended up with Jose Perez, a distant relative of Eulalia, who abandoned the property. In 1843, the rancho was given by the governor of Mexico to Manual Garfias, a lieutenant colonel in the Mexican army.

Some time between 1838 and 1845, an adobe was built on Rancho San Pasqual. Near the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, the adobe served as headquarters for General Jose Maria Flores, the interim governor of California. The defeated Californios met in the adobe to discuss a tentative treaty, which would become the Articles of Capitulation. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the adobe is hidden from view by apartment houses and 1920's bungalows on a knoll in South Pasadena.

Furthest Land heads a field of seven in Saturday's Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap for 4-year-olds and up at 1-1/16 miles on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride track. Furthest Land, trained by Mike Maker for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, won the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 7 at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old son of Smart Strike has won 8 of 16 starts for total earnings to date of $869,689.

Here is the field for the San Pasqual, from the rail out: Cherokee Artist, Rafael Bejarano; Bold Chieftain, Russell Baze; Nownownow, Joe Talamo; Goldsville, Alex Solis; Neko Bay, Mike Smith; Spurrier, Joel Rosario; and Furthest Land, Garrett Gomez.

Photo courtesy of Hollywood Park.


frank mitchell said...

nice group of horses but no Ack Ack. is Einstein around?

Mary Forney said...

Frank, Adena Springs announced that Einstein would probably make at least one more start in 2010 before being retired to stud. Most likely it will be the Gulfstream Park Turf Hcp. on Feb. 6, a race he's won twice before.

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