Itsinthepost holds on gamely in San Marcos

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Itsinthepost won his fifth Grade 2 stakes in the last year in Saturday's $200,690 San Marcos Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita, holding off Hayabusa One to win by a nose.

The margin was nearly a dead-heat. Officials needed four minutes to study the photo and determine that Itsinthepost won by the narrowest of margins.

Itsinthepost was ridden by his regular rider, Tyler Baze, who urged the 6-year-old gelding to the front with a quarter-mile remaining with a wide rally. Itsinthepost led by 1 1/2 lengths a furlong from the finish.

"My horse doesn't have a big turn of foot," Baze said. "I've done the same thing before. I've got to outkick the ones behind that are chasing me."

Itsinthepost ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 1:58.24.

"He might have moved a little too soon, but he got the trip he needed," trainer Jeff Mullins said. "He wants to be in the clear on the outside."

Hayabusa One, a 14-1 longshot, finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of 17-1 Editore. Hayabusa One was ridden by Victor Espinoza, who dropped his whip in the final sixteenth.

"Sometimes you win like that and sometimes you lose," Espinoza said. "He ran too good not to win."

Free Rose finished fourth, followed by Mr. Roary, Flamboyant, and Isotherm.

The San Marcos was Hayabusa One's second start for trainer Peter Miller. Hayabusa One won an allowance race with a $62,500 claiming option on Jan. 13, his first start in 11 months.

Miller thought Hayabusa One had scored the upset win -- until he saw the replay.

"I thought we had it, but on the replay I could see we didn't get the bob," Miller said.

Itsinthepost is unbeaten this year, having won the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf on Jan. 6. Owned by Jed and Roberta Cohen, Itsinthepost won two Grade 2 races here last year -- the San Luis Rey Stakes in March and John Henry Turf Championship in October - and the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland last April.

"The older he gets, the better he gets," Baze said.

Bred in France, Itsinthepost has won 8 of 32 starts and earned $975,712. By American Post, Itsinthepost was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar last November.