Rail Trip, one of the most talked-about lightly raced horses in years at Santa Anita, will skip Saturday’s $150,000 San Carlos Handicap and run next in a third-level allowance race on Friday. After that, trainer Ron Ellis is not quite sure.
Rail Trip, a 4-year-old gelding by Jump Start, is unbeaten in three starts, winning his races by a combined 12 1/2 lengths. He won his first two races at Hollywood Park by a combined seven lengths and then romped home by 5 1/2 lengths in a second-level allowance at Santa Anita on Jan. 30, after which Ellis hinted he might race in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap. Ellis then hinted at the San Carlos, a seven-furlong sprint, last weekend before opting for Friday’s race against the likes of Dixie Meister, Rocket Legs, Racketeer and Booyah.
Ellis told the Daily Racing Form on Wednesday morning that he didn’t want to throw Rail Trip to the wolves by having him make his stakes debut off only three races while going 1 1/4 miles against some of the top handicap horses in the country.
Friday’s race, at 1 1/16 miles, will be run over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface, which was still drying out Wednesday after all the rain over the long weekend. Jose Valdivia retains the mount on the Jay Em Ess Stable-owned gelding.
Ellis still is not sure what will be next after Friday. If he goes in the Big ‘Cap, he’ll have had only 16 days between races, not a normal Ellis routine. But Ellis did not rule out the Big ‘Cap, nor the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 28. The latter option would give him plenty of time between races.