PUERTO RICAN SENSATION TONITO M. TO MAKE U.S. DEBUT FOR HOLLENDORFER
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 7, 2014)–Trainer John Sadler’s Kobe’s Back appears well-suited as he heads a field of seven sophomores in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes going seven furlongs at Santa Anita.
A 5 ¼ length winner of the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente stakes three starts back on Feb. 16, Kobe’s Back comes off a troubled third place run in the Grade III, seven furlong Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on April 5. The 7-5 favorite in a field of eight, he hit the starting gate at the break and came running late to be beaten just a half length.
Owned by Susan Searing, Kobe’s Back was a first-out winner of the 5 ½ furlong Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes on June 15, 2013 and was considered a top-tier Kentucky Derby prospect last fall and winter.
A Kentucky-bred colt by the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, he was second as the 4-5 favorite to eventual Eclipse Champion 2-year-old colt Shared Belief, in his second start, the Grade III, seven furlong Hollywood Preview on Nov. 10. With a win, a second and a third at seven furlongs, he’s 6-2-1-1 overall with earnings of $234,250.
Tonito M. is a speedy Puerto Rican-raced sensation who will make his U.S. debut in the Barrera. A four-time group winner in Puerto Rico, he’s won six of his seven starts and has been odds-on each time. A six length winner of the Group I, 1 1/16 miles Clasico Agustin Mercado Reveron Stakes three starts back on Dec. 22, he has been idle since winning the Group III, 1 1/16 miles George Washington Stakes by 11 ½ lengths on Feb. 16.
A Kentucky-bred colt by Rock Hard Ten, Tonito M. is now trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. He worked a bullet six furlongs from the gate at Santa Anita in 1:11.80 on May 2 and appears primed and ready. He’s owned by M Racing Group, LLC and has earnings of $96,109.
The complete field for the Lazaro Barrera Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Ferocious, Joe Talamo, 118; Tonito M., Rafael Bejarano, 123; Kobe’s Back, Corey Nakatani, 123; Chelious, Gary Stevens, 118; Twenty Percent, Mike Smith, 118; Puppy Manners, Tyler Baze, 118, and Top Fortitude, Kayla Stra, 118.
First post time on Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.