Unofficial Champion Stayer 2011: Sanagas · 22.02.12
For performances in North America at distances of 1 1/2 miles and beyond, Left Coast Racing awards the unofficial title of Champion Stayer for 2011 to SANAGAS.
German-bred gelding Sanagas made his American debut last July, finishing seventh in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Handicap. Moving to New York he showed considerable improvement by winning the John’s Call at Saratoga in August, followed by a fourth in the pseudo-marathon Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont. In October he won the Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland. He wrapped up his racing season in November by winning the Hollywood Turf Cup.
Based on the points system established for the Stayers’ Watch series, Sanagas actually finished tied with veteran turf horse Musketier, with 18 points. After due consideration, Sanagas gets the nod. He could boast a Grade I win in the Gold Cup, while Musketier’s wins came only at the Grade II and III level. Additionally, Sanagas’ win in the Sycamore was off-the-turf, setting a track record on Keeneland’s Polytrack main course while giving him results on two different surfaces. Finaly, Sanagas actually raced for less than half a year in North America, with his successes coming in a much shorter period than those of Musketier.
That being said, Musketier deserves honorable mention for his wins in the Elkhorn and Singspiel Stakes, and the W.L. McKnight Handicap, and a second-place showing in the Pan American Handicap. A German-bred like Sanagas, Musketier performed credibly at middle distances as well as in the longer races.
Other notable stayers of 2011 were Winchester, winner of the Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational and the 2010 Unofficial Champion Stayer Bourbon Bay, who never did replicate his championship form but still managed a Polytrack win in the Grade III Cougar II Handicap.
Trained last year by Graham Motion, Sanagas was sold during the off-season and is now trained by Peter Miller. His new connections are reportedly aiming him towards Australia’s Melbourne Cup in November. Unfortunately Sanagas’ 2012 campaign had a less than auspicious start earlier this month when he finished sixth and last in the 1 1/4-mile San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita.
Left Coast Racing congratulates Sanagas and his human connections for earning the Unofficial Champion Stayer title, and we wish them all the best for their 2012 campaign.
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