LNJ Foxwoods' United scored a popular victory at odds of 4-5 in Saturday's Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita, digging in for the stretch run to win by a half-length on the wire. It marks the first stakes victory for the 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, whose last two starts in the G2 Hollywood Turf Cup and G1 Breeders' Cup Turf both resulted in second-place finishes.
Ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Richard Mandella, United ran 1 1/4 miles over the firm turf course in 1:59.04.
The longest shot on the board, Brown Storm grabbed the lead early on to set fractions of :23.31, :46.92, and 1:10.99. Meanwhile, United was content to track the pace from a joint third down the backstretch, waiting to make his move until the stretch run.
All six of the entrants were within striking distance at the top of the lane, with United near the center of the six-way battle for the San Marcos. United grabbed a clear advantage nearing the sixteenth pole, and held off the late run of Cleopatra's Strike by a half-length on the wire. It was another neck back to late-running Oscar Dominguez, and Brown Storm held on to finish fourth.
The order of finish was completed by Multiplier and Chosen Vessel.
Bred in Kentucky by Rosemont Farm, United is out of the unraced Pulling Punches mare Indy Punch, making him a half-brother to $779,058-earner Harlan Punch. A $300,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select sale, United won at second asking mid-way through his 3-year-old season. His stakes debut came as a 4-year-old when he ran second in the G2 Charles Whittingham, and last November he was beaten just a head by Bricks and Mortar in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Overall, United has a record of 4-3-1 from 12 starts for earnings of over $1 million.
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