A 5f group 3 on the Santa Anita round turf track should really see Cistron and Victor Espinoza relaunch their 2020. Having won a similar race in March over course and distance, beating the well regarded Wes Ward horse Bound for Nowhere, Cistron ran a triple figure Beyer speed figure that day, equalling the same figure he got for his dirt grade 1 win in the Bing Crosby at Del Mar last July.
His last four pieces of work have been 12-second furlongs or quicker and trainer John Saddler has shown no signs of rust since the enforced break. Wildman Jack and Texas Wedge look his main opponents but I’m happy to take on Wildman Jack after his Dubai exploits for Doug O’Neil, while Texas Wedge will have to run a lifetime best for the widest draw to win.
This group 2 over 10f on the turf features the Breeders Cup Turf runner up United, who will take a lot of beating here. Jockey Flavian Prat has managed to get him beat with a waiting run but I think the whole team has learned for that. His February romp showed that this son of Giants Causeway is going to be a force in all the older horse turf group 1s in 2020.
His man rival is the Chad Brown shipper Rockemperor, who is yet to win stateside for Brown, but has been running well in hot races – but I think he will just be filling the places here.
What the race lacks in numbers it makes up for in class.
Call the Wind won in Saudi Arabia in February, beating a star-studded field, and here he needs to put away old foe Holdthasigreen. The worry for Holdthasigreen is that he gives weight to Call The Wind and despite the fact he won this race 12 months ago he is better over further – one year on, he may find the near 1mile 5f too sharp.
While I have a worry over how slow the Freddy Head stable has kicked off the racing restart, Call the Wind can throw down his Royal Ascot marker to Stradivarius.
Monday is memorial day in the United States and so we have some group 1 action at Santa Anita.
The ex-John Gosden (now Chad Brown) Without Parole has a great chance of opening his US account against the 2019 Preakness winner War of Will in the Shoemaker Mile.
In the Gamely stakes, ex Charlie Hill (now Brad Cox) Juliet Foxtrot is hoping to finally get the W after finishing 2nd and 3rd in Group 1 contests on her most recent starts.