AMERICAN ANTHEM & CISTRON HEAD SATURDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 TRIPLE BEND STAKES AS EIGHT OLDER SPRINTERS GO SEVEN PANELS
AMERICAN ANTHEM & CISTRON HEAD SATURDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 TRIPLE BEND STAKES AS EIGHT OLDER SPRINTERS GO SEVEN PANELS ARCADIA, Calif. (May 23, 2019)–In a talent laden eight-horse lineup, Bob Baffert’s American Anthem and John Sadler’s Cistron would appear to merit top billing going seven furlongs in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita.Favored in his first start in nine months, American Anthem was a close second in a one turn mile classified allowance on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs and would appear to have a huge chance as he shortens to a distance at which he’s won four out of five times.Thought to be a turf sprinter, Cistron ran his competition off their feet when winning the Grade II, 6 ½ furlong Kona Gold Stakes by 5 ¼ lengths here on April 20. Reunited with Victor Espinoza, he’ll be facing tougher company in the Triple Bend, including Baffert’s speedy Nero, who figures to apply plenty of early pace pressure.AMERICAN ANTHEMOwner: China Horse Club & WinStar Farm, LLCTrainer: Bob BaffertA 5-year-old horse by Bodemeister, went to the front in his most recent race at Churchill Downs on May 4 and gave way grudgingly late to be second by three quarters of a length as the 6-5 favorite. A winner of two graded stakes here, the Grade II Lazaro Barrera in May, 2017 and the Grade II San Carlos on June 23, 2018, American Anthem will be reunited with Mike Smith, who has ridden him in eight of his 12 starts, winning three of them.CISTRONOwner: Hronis Racing, LLCTrainer: John SadlerAlthough campaigned through 13 consecutive turf starts, including a close second place finish two starts back in the Grade III San Simeon Stakes on March 31, Cistron was wheeled back in 10 days on dirt in the Grade II Kona Gold Stakes April 20 and he responded with a rousing gate to wire 5 ¼ length win. A 5-year-old horse by The Factor, Cistron will likely have to contend with Nero early as he tries seven furlongs on dirt for only the second time in his career. A lifetime earner of $480,719, he has an overall mark of 25-4-6-6.THE GRADE II TRIPLE BEND STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 8 of 10 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PTAmerican Anthem–Mike Smith–121Cistron–Victor Espinoza–123Law Abidin Citizen–Tiago Pereira–123Majestic Eagle–Flavien Prat–121Nero–Drayden Van Dyke–121Air Strike–Norberto Arroyo, Jr.–121The Hardest Way–Joe Talamo–121All Out Blitz–Martin Garcia–121First post time for a 10-race card that will also include the Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes and the Grade III Daytona Stakes, is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.