Truculent trailed the field for nearly a mile before rallying for a half-length victory Saturday in the $86,350 San Marino Handicap on the turf at Santa Anita.
It was the first American stakes victory for the Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, who began his career in Europe and did not return to the United States until a year ago. The son of Val de L’orne was the favorite.
Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye allowed Truculent to lag in the rear of the field of seven until the turn for home, where he took him to the outside. Truculent took the lead an eighth of a mile from the finish, then outgained Prime Assett at the finish. Willingness, the pace-setter from the start to the head of the stretch, held on for third.
Truculent raced 1 1/2 miles on the downhill and infield grass in 2:26 3/5. As the 4-5 choice of the crowd of 34,500, he paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.60. Prime Assett, ridden by Chris McCarron, returned $3.20 and $3 as second choice, while Willingness showed at $3.60.
The victory brought a purse of $50,350 to owner Edmund Gann of San Diego, who imported Truculent from France.
The San Marino is one of a series of grass races leading to the $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap April 20, which usually decides the turf champion of the meeting.