United Attends Pace And Responds With Half Length Win In Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos; Mandella & Prat Team For 1 ¼ Miles On Turf In 1:59.04ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 1, 2020)–Attentive to the pace today, Richard Mandella’s United was put into a drive midway around the far turn and he responded with a hard-fought three quarter length win in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Flavien Prat, United, who cut back in distance off of a pair of second place finishes at a mile and one half on grass, got a mile and one quarter on turf in 1:59.04.“I think I made a mistake last time,” said Prat in reference to a second place finish as the even money favorite in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar Dec. 1. “I was trying to keep him covered up and it didn’t end up the way I wanted and I found myself too far back. Today, we broke off and we were in the race (early). He just (kept running) to the wire.”Second, beaten a head by eventual Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar two starts back in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf here Nov. 2, United was off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of six older horses and paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10.“You could see there wasn’t a lot of pace in the race,” said Mandella. “He’s got a big lumbering stride and you don’t want to get in the way of it. We just let him cruise along and that worked out well.”Owned by LNJ Foxwoods, United, a 5-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway out of the Pulling Punches mare Indy Punch, collected his first stakes win and improved his overall ledger to 12-4-3-1. With the winner’s check of $120,000, he went over the $1 million mark to $1,013,549.Ridden by Abel Cedillo, Cleopatra’s Strike put in a good run from off the pace to finish second by a neck in front of a fast finishing Oscar Dominguez. Off at 3-1, “Cleopatra” paid $3.20 and $2.20.Last around the far turn and extremely wide turning for home, Irish-bred Oscar Dominguez flew late to be third with Joel Rosario and paid $2.20 to show.Fractions on the race were 23.31, 46.92, 1:10.99 and 1:35.06.
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