AUTUMN MEET OPENING DAY FEATURE ANCHORS NINE-RACE PROGRAM AT SANTA ANITA AS LEGENDARY RETIRED HALL OF FAMER EDDIE DELAHOUSSAYE PRESENTS TROPHY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2014)–Last with less than a quarter mile to run, Tarabilla Farms’ Home Run Kitten finished with a rush under Joe Talamo to take Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Eddie D. Stakes by a nose over favored Ambitious Brew and Mike Smith, vanquishing 10 rivals while negotiating 6 ½ furlongs down the track’s hillside turf course in 1:11.94.
Trained by David Hofmans, the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Kitten’s Joy was next to last past the half mile pole and last crossing the dirt at the top of the stretch as longshots Global Power and Artest slugged it out through fractions of 21.41, 43.44 and 1:06.02
“He’s a horse that’s better when you put a little pace in front of him,” said Talamo, who collected his second win of the day. “He has a tremendous turn of foot and every time he runs (in shorter races), he really shows it…We were pretty far back but I knew they were going pretty quick up front but when I got him to the outside, he just had that turn of foot.”
Off at 10-1, he paid $23.40, $9.80 and $5.80.
Fifth, beaten 4 ¾ lengths in the Grade II, mile and one eighth Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31, Home Run Kitten registered his second win down Santa Anita’s unique downhill layout.
“I think he’s a come-from-behind sprinter, myself,” said Hofmans. “We tried to get into the game wrong with 3-year-olds hoping we could do something like the Triple Crown, but I think a mile and an eighth is too far.”
When asked about the Grade I, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 1, Hofmans replied: “We won it in 2008 for the same owner. We might do the same thing. He paid 80 bucks that day. This horse might pay 40.”
Home Run Kitten, who is out of the Grand Slam mare Grand Slam Girl, picked up his fourth win from nine starts, and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased his earnings to $217,800.
Idle since Feb. 22, trainer Marty Jones’ Ambitious Brew entered today’s race a perfect three for three coming down the hill and was off as the solid 2-1 favorite in the Eddie D.
“He ran brilliant,” said Smith. “I hit the front just a bit too soon for him. He really tends to wait but I couldn’t do a whole lot about it. He was a bit rushed today…I realized I was going to (make the lead) too soon, but I couldn’t do a lot about it at that point…That horse (Home Run Kitten) came and nailed me.”
Ambitious Brew finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Lil Bit O’Fun and paid $4.80 and $3.80.
Like Hofmans, Jones remained hopeful that his horse could start next in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. “We haven’t ruled it out yet,” he said. “We’ll see how he comes out of this.”
Off at 9-2, Lil Bit O’Fun was next-to-last approaching the dirt crossing and finished three quarters of a length clear of longshot Pure Tactics. He paid $3.60 to show.
Morning line favorite Unbridled’s Note, the second choice at 4-1, never threatened, finishing ninth under Corey Nakatani.
Legendary retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye presented the trophy for the race named in his honor and when told Home Run Kitten’s nose win looked like an “Eddie D. finish,” he responded: “It looked like that. That was great. It reminded me of the old days. I wish it was me.”
Santa Anita’s 25-day Autumn stand will hit full stride on Saturday as it’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day, featuring five Grade I Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” qualifying stakes on a blockbuster 11-race program.
Special early first post time on Saturday is 12:30 p.m., and Santa Anita’s admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.