By MICHAEL COMPTON
Saturday’s 75th running of the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) drew a full field of 13, including morning-line favorite Ultimate Eagle.
The connections of defending Santa Anita Handicap (G1) champion Game on Dude decided against sending their charge out this weekend and opted instead to point him to the Dubai World Cup on March 31. With that key defection, Ultimate Eagle swoops into the spotlight as the 5-2 morning line favorite among 13 entrants in the Grade 1 fixture.
The complete field for the Santa Anita Handicap, with jockeys, weights and morning line odds in post position order: Uh Oh Bango, Mike Smith, 117, 6-1; Ultimate Eagle, Martin Pedroza, 120, 5-2; Ron the Greek, Jose Lezcano,116, 6-1; Boxeur de Rues, Mario Gutierrez, 112, 50-1; Thirtyfirststreet, Eswan Flores, 114, 30-1; Twice the Appeal, Christian Santiago Reyes, 114, 30-1; Fiddlers Afleet, Kevin Krigger, 110, 50-1; Gladding, Joel Rosario, 116, 12-1; Setsuko, Victor Espinoza, 116, 4-1; Norvsky, Joseph Talamo, 118, 6-1; Prayer for Relief, Martin Garcia, 117, 8-1; Holladay Road, Rafael Bejarano, 114, 8-1, and Victory Pete, Corey Nakatani, 114, 50-1.
The Big ’Cap will be run for the first time ever as the day’s last race and will follow the Las Virgenes Stakes and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile as the card concludes with three successive Grade 1 stakes.