ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2015)–A close second in Santa Anita’s Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile Dec. 26, trainer David Hofmans’ Home Run Kitten heads a competitive field of nine older horses in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Arcadia Stakes, which will also be run at one mile on turf.
Owned by Tarabilla Farms, Inc., Home Run Kitten rallied from off the pace to be beaten a neck in the Mathis Brothers Mile by Alert Bay, who came back to win last Saturday’s $250,000 California Turf Classic–his fifth consecutive victory.
Although he finished 11th in a field of 14 in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 1, Home Run Kitten was only beaten four lengths at 8-1, demonstrating that he fit with those top caliber horses. A winner of the Grade III Eddie D. Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course three starts back on Sept. 26, the Chestnut colt by Kitten’s Joy has proven himself a versatile sort as he has two wins, a second and a third from four tries at one mile on turf.
Bred in Kentucky by America’s reigning Eclipse Award winning breeders, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Home Run Kitten is out of the Grand Slam mare, Grand Slam Girl and would be well served by a fast pace. His impressive resume includes an overall mark of 11-4-2-2, with earnings of $257,800.
Trainer Mark Casse’s Kaigun is another who would prefer a quick pace, as he rallied to spring a mild upset in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles turf Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar on Nov. 28. A close fourth to two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan three starts back in the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 4, the 5-year-old Northern Afleet gelding has a win and three seconds from six starts at one mile on grass.
Bred in Ontario, Canada, Kaigun is out of the Kris S. mare Cruising Kris and is owned by Gary Barber, Quintessential Racing, Florida, LLC and Horse’n Around Racing Stable. He is 18-5-4-1 overall with earnings of $964,220.
Second, beaten three quarters of a length by Kaigun when trained by Christophe Clemente in the Seabiscuit Handicap Nov. 28, Za Approval ventured to Gulfstream Park on Jan. 10 and finished a close fourth in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles (turf) Fort Lauderdale Stakes–his first start for Casse.
A 7-year-old gelding by Ghostzapper, Za Approval is a multiple graded stakes winner at one mile on grass and has four wins, five seconds and a third from 14 tries under those conditions. Midpack early in his last two starts, Za Approval has tactical speed and can lay closer if necessary. He is 24-8-7-1 overall with earnings of $1,224,371.
Tom Proctor’s Avanzare cuts back in distance and switches to turf off of a third place finish in the 1 1/8 miles Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 29 and looms a major threat with Gary Stevens riding back. Versatile at one mile on turf, he can press or stalk the early pace. With two wins, two seconds and a third from five tries at a mile on grass, four out of his five lifetime wins have come on the lawn. Owned by Lanni and Youngblood, the 5-year-old gelding by Grand Reward will be making his 12th career start on Saturday. He has earnings of $265,180.
Fifth, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by Alert Bay in the Mathis Brothers Mile, French-bred Talco is winless in four stateside starts for trainer John Sadler but has been close on each occasion, all graded stakes run on turf. Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, the 4-year-old colt has a win and two seconds from five starts at one mile on grass. A deep closer, Talco is 10-2-2-3 overall with earnings of $134,823.
Trainer Peter Miller’s upstart El Nino Terrible comes off a 2 ¼ length score in a one mile allowance run over a wet fast strip on Jan. 11 and could be the controlling speed in the field. A winner of two out of his last three starts, the 4-year-old Malibu Moon colt will try turf for the first time. Owned by Dona Licha, speedy El Nino Terrible has three wins from nine starts and has earnings of $112,888.
The Arcadia Stakes, to be run as the seventh race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Play Hard to Get, Alex Solis, 118; Home Run Kitten, Joe Talamo, 118; Baccelo, Tiago Pereira, 118; Kaigun, Corey Nakatani, 123; Edge of Reality, Flavien Prat, 118; El Nino Terrible, Fernando Perez, 118; Talco, Drayden Van Dyke, 118; Za Approval, Mike Smith, 118, and Avanzare, Gary Stevens, 118.
First post time on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.