War Chant Wins San Rafael Stakes
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ War Chant stayed perfect on the road to the Kentucky Derby with a half-length victory over Archer City Slew in the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes on Saturday.
War Chant covered one mile in 1:36 2-5 under Kent Desormeaux to remain unbeaten in three starts as a 3-year-old. He paid $3, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 1-2 wagering favorite.
Archer City Slew and Chris Antley, who won last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Charismatic, rushed to the lead out of the gate and dueled with War Chant for much of the way.
War Chant took a slight lead along the rail on the backstretch while being pressed by Archer City Slew. They ran together through the top of the stretch, but War Chant moved out to the lead while Antley alternately whipped Archer City Slew on the right and then left without gaining ground.
Archer City Slew returned $2.80 and $2.10, while Cocky and Corey Nakatani were another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $2.20 to show.
War Chant ducked out a bit near the sixteenth pole and trainer Neil Drysdale blamed it on an advertising sign along the rail.
``He was spooked a bit,″ said Drysdale, who was pleased with War Chant’s effort.
``It was a good race for him because he needs to get some serious racing under his belt,″ he said. ``It showed he’s got some mettle.″
Drysdale said War Chant will point toward the Santa Anita Derby on April 8.
``So far, so good. We’re on the right track,″ he said.
However, no San Rafael winner has ever gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.
War Chant and Cocky carried 115 pounds each to 118 for Archer City Slew.
The victory was worth $120,000.
Hugh Hefner and Gilty Moment were scratched, reducing the field to six.