Avanzare, Talco meet again in City of Hope

Profile Picture: James Scully

September 24th, 2015

Avanzare and Talco, the 1-2 finishers in the August 23 Del Mar Mile, will square off again in Sunday’s $200,000 City of Hope Mile (G2) at Santa Anita. They are leading contenders among nine horses in the one-mile turf affair.

Avanzare posted a mild upset at 6-1 in the Del Mar Mile, out-finishing fellow late runner Talco by a half-length, but the outcome was no fluke. The 5yo gelding was overlooked following a near seven-month layoff, making his first appearance since winning the Arcadia (G2) at Santa Anita in late January, and the Tom Proctor charge possesses an excellent 6-3-1 record from 11 turf starts. Avanzare will keep Gary Stevens in the saddle.

Bet down to 5-2 off a nice victory in the June 13 Shoemaker Mile (G1), Talco turned in a commendable effort to just miss last time and figures to take some beating on Sunday. The chestnut colt has blossomed at age 4 for John Sadler, posting three wins and three seconds from six attempts, all three wins coming at Santa Anita, and Rafael Bejarano retains the mount.

Alert Bay exits a convincing tally in the September 7 Rolling Green at Golden Gate Fields and has run well over Santa Anita’s turf, winning three of four attempts including the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) in late December. Conditioned by Blaine Wright, the 4yo gelding will break from the far outside post with new rider Martin Garcia.

Twentytwentyvision can’t be dismissed from consideration for Richard Mandella. Runner-up in the Eddie Read (G1) two back, the improving 4yo gelding exits sharp score over allowance/optional claiming foes at Del Mar on August 22. Victor Espnoza replaces an injured Flavien Prat.

Big Bane Theory, Big Casanova and Silentio have plenty of experience at this level but will need to find form to challenge. Completing the line-up are longshots Hot Hot Heat and Poshsky.

The $75,000 King Pellinore takes place two races earlier on the program and Ashleyluvssugar will receive plenty of class relief in the 1 ¼-mile turf affair. Winner of the Charles Whittingham (G2) and San Luis Rey (G2) during the spring, the 4yo gelding exits a respectable second as the favorite in the August 22 Del Mar H. (G2), missing by 1 ½ length to Big John B., and this rates as a puzzling spot for one of California’s best turf horses. Stevens guides the Peter Eurton trainee.

His challengers in the full field include Abbey Vale, who will make his first appearance since a third in the Last Tycoon (G3) in late April; recent Del Mar allowance/optional winner Texas Ryano; and Grade 3 victor Quick Casablanca.

Avanzare (#10) edging Talco (#2) in Del Mar Mile courtesy of Benoit Photo