By Emily Shields
Unbeaten Encoder headlines a field of seven in the $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita Sunday. The race has Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf implications, with the winner likely to point to that contest November 1.
#1 Hariboux (GB) (5-2) makes his United States debut. He was previously trained by Hugo Palmer in England, where he won three of five starts and was never worse than third. The son of Havana Gold (Ire) has not stretched to a mile yet, which is the distance of today’s contest. Drayden Van Dyke will be aboard.
#2 Encoder (8-5) is unbeaten in two starts. John Sadler trains the son of English Channel, who broke his maiden first out at Del Mar August 7 over five furlongs. He wheeled back September 1 to win the Del Mar Juvenile Turf by a head over Billy Batts, who is in this race. That race was over this mile distance. Flavien Prat has been aboard for both starts to date and remains on today.
#3 Hit the Road (10-1) comes in for trainer Dan Blacker. After running sixth sprinting on the main track here in June, he stretched out to a mile on the grass at Del Mar July 28 and won. Joe Talamo was aboard that day, but he’s at Belmont today. Victor Espinoza takes over.
#4 Billy Batts (5-2) was second by a head in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. He broke his maiden before that, scoring at Del Mar in a somewhat slow time in his California debut after three starts in Kentucky. Peter Miller trains for Rockingham Ranch. Billy Batts gets his fourth rider in four starts with Norberto Arroyo Jr taking over.
#5 Club Aspen (20-1) won sprinting on the main track at Del Mar against state-breds August 2. Craig Lewis trains the son of Clubhouse Ride, who came back to be fifth in the I’m Smokin August 30. This is his turf debut.
#6 War Beast (8-1) took four tries to break his maiden, but finally did over a mile on the grass at Del Mar September 1 under hot riding Abel Cedillo. He has run against several of these before, defeating the maiden Cool Runnings last out.
#7 Cool Runnings (10-1) has yet to win, but has the pedigree to get it done. He’s by hot young turf stallion and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and is trained by Keith Desormeaux. Brother Kent will run the $60,000 purchase who is out of a Harlan’s Holiday mare.
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