Making only his third start on the dirt from 41 career starts, veteran Itsinthepost scored a determined victory in Friday's Grade 2 Marathon Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The 7-year-old son of American Post, owned by Red Baron's Barn and trained by Jeff Mullins, won by three-quarters of a length over Zestful in a final time of 3:03.95 for the 1 3/4 miles on the fast track. Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Itsinthepost got his first win since May of 2018 as the second choice at 3-1.
“We had him really fit today and Drayden gave him a good ride,” said Mullins. “It was the distance, it's all the distance.”
The race's 1-2 favorite, Campaign, was distanced rounding the far turn and eased under the wire by jockey Joel Rosario. The horse walked off the track under his own power.
Itsinthepost broke last, but Van Dyke simply allowed the gelding to settle into stride down the backstretch while maintaining his rail position. American Tattoo was out front first, but Zestful took command rounding into the stretch for the first time, marking off reasonable early fractions of 25.07 and 50.80 seconds.
After the first six furlongs, Itsinthepost tugged Van Dyke to the outside and up into third for the run around the clubhouse turn. He stayed wide through the second trip down the backstretch, and started inching toward the leaders approaching the half-mile pole.
American Tattoo re-joined Zestful on the lead in the far turn, and Itsinthepost moved up to make it three across the track turning for home. From there, Itsinthepost did just enough to take and keep the advantage, hitting the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Zestful. American Tattoo checked in third.
“I didn't want to get in his way too much, so I just let him go,” said Van Dyke. “Jeff had him super ready. We have been working him on the training track and getting ready for this race.”
Bred in France by Julien Leaunes, Itsinthepost is out of the Mozart mare Sakkara Star. He was a $6,656 yearling at Osarus in 2013, and after one win he transferred to the United States in early 2015. He won his first stakes race in 2017, and the Marathon win improves the gelding's overall record to 11-8-6 from 41 starts for earnings of over $1.3 million.
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