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Itsinthepost Finds Just Enough to Win John Henry Turf

From Jeremy Balan (Bloodhorse.com)

Early in the stretch run of the $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (G2T), it appeared as if Itsinthepost and Tyler Baze were running into trouble again.

But unlike the Aug. 19 Del Mar Handicap (G2T)—during which he was trapped inside in the final turn and had to check before he rallied late for second—the American Post (GB) gelding found room and surged late to just get a head in front of Prime Attraction at the wire.

Turning for home Itsinthepost had little room behind Prime Attraction and Frank Conversation. Frank Conversation began to tire, however, which opened up a lane for Baze and Itsinthepost, who found just enough to win the third grade 2 grass race of his career.

“He’s just a pleasure to train,” said winning trainer Jeff Mullins. “He’s so professional. We were unlucky not to win last time, but everything worked out great today. He’s as honest as they come.”

Itsinthepost, owned by Red Barons Barn, worked out a stalking trip in third behind Prime Attraction, who set fractions of :24.01, :48.31, and 1:12.29 through six furlongs of the 1 1/4-mile turf test. To his outside, holding him on the rail, was Del Mar Handicap winner Hunt, and ahead was Frank Conversation. A mile went in 1:35.63 and Hunt faded in the stretch after a three-wide move in the final turn to set up Itsinthepost’s winning stretch run. He finished off the distance in 1:58.28 on the firm Santa Anita Park turf.

“I love this horse,” said Baze, who also piloted the bay to wins in the Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2T) and San Luis Rey Stakes (G2T) this year. “I really do. Jeff and I talked about this race and it came up pretty much the way we thought. He laid pretty close today and he still had a really good kick. Wherever he goes, I go.”

Red Baron’s Barn’s Itsinthepost and jockey Tyler Baze, outside, outleg Prime Attraction (Victor Espinoza), inside, to win the Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship. © BENOIT PHOTO

It was a tough-luck second for Prime Attraction, who finished fourth in the Del Mar Handicap, his first graded turf try.

“He switched to his wrong lead in the last 20 yards and I think that cost him the race,” said Prime Attractions’ jockey, Victor Espinoza. “He relaxed really well today, but when he switched leads, he lost a little bit of his stride and I think that cost him the race.”

Frank Conversation held for third by a neck and was followed by Inordinate, Chicago Style, Up With the Birds, Hunt, and Dressed in Hermes, to complete the order of finish.

Bred in France by Julien Leaunes, out of the Mozart mare Sakkara Star, Itsinthepost now has $695,712 and a record of 6-7-5 from 29 starts.

Owner Mark Cohen said after the race that the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) is under consideration for Itsinthepost’s next start.

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