American Anthem and St. Joe Bay staged a thrilling stretch duel in Saturday's $250,000 San Carlos S. (G2), with American Anthem coming out on top by a head to give the 4-year-old son of Bodemeister his third career graded stakes victory.
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The San Carlos outcome wasn't decided until the final stride. St. Joe Bay, along the rail, set fast fractions as he carved out a half-mile in :44.46. American Anthem tracked him in second and pulled even with about a quarter-mile to run. The top pair was nearly inseparable the rest of the way, but American Anthem showed his class at the end to pull out the narrow win.
The final time for the seven furlongs on a fast track was 1:22.12.
“St. Joe Bay was running along so easy that I thought I should keep a little pressure on him, and I’m glad I did because I needed every bit of it to get by him,” said winning rider Mike Smith.
Trained by Bob Baffert for WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners, China Horse Club and SF Racing, American Anthem upped his record to 5-1-2 in 10 starts and has now earned $673,945.
American Anthem won last year's Woody Stephens S. (G2) and Laz Barrera S. (G3). Bred by WinStar Farm, he is out of Indy Windy, a half-sister to champion 3-year-old filly Banshee Breeze.
American Anthem's win comes just one day after the Bodemeister filly Yuvetsi scored her first stakes win in the Santa Lucia S., also at Santa Anita. Bodemeister leads all Third-Crop sires with 61 winners to date.