LORD SIMBA, KOBE’S BACK & RANSOM THE MOON ALL PROMINENT AMONG FIELD OF NINE IN SATURDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 KONA GOLD STAKES AT 6 ½ FURLONGS

 

 RACE HIGHLIGHTS 11-RACE PREAKNESS DAY CARD; ADMISSION GATES OPEN AT 9 A.M., SPECIAL EARLY FIRST LIVE RACE POST AT 12 NOON

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 17, 2017)–Red hot Lord Simba takes on classy Kobe’s Back, up and coming Ransom the Moon and others in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Kona Gold Stakes, to be run at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s main track.  Named for the 2000 Eclipse Award Sprinter, the Kona Gold, for 3-year-olds and up, attracted a field of nine.

Trained by Bob Baffert, lightly raced Lord Simba comes off a big win here in the Grade III Los Angeles Stakes at six furlongs on April 15, while the Peter Eurton-conditioned Kobe’s Back makes his second start off a nine-month freshening.  Trainer Phil D’Amato’s Ransom the Moon, a smashing 4 ¼ length allowance winner going 6 ½ furlongs in his Southern California debut, will try stakes company for the first time.

Throw in trainer Peter Miller’s graded stakes winning Calculator, who returns to Santa Anita following a disappointing effort at a mile on turf at Keeneland, and John Sadler’s speedy graded stakes placed Moe Candy, and the Kona Gold shapes up as a deep and very competitive race for some of the best sprinters on the West Coast.

 

LORD SIMBA:  A rousing eight length maiden winner here two starts back going six furlongs on March 19, this 4-year-old Discreet Cat colt again pressed the early pace and earned a Kona Gold-best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 101 in taking the Los Angeles Stakes at odds of 1-2.  A $300,000 Florida 2-year-old in training sale purchase in April, 2015, he’s owned by the Baoma Corporation.  With an overall mark of 5-2-3-0, he has earnings of $121,200.

 

KOBE’S BACK:  Notoriously tardy leaving the starting gate, this 6-year-old full horse by Flatter could well have been in need of his last race, a fifth place performance in the Grade I, seven furlong Triple Bend Stakes here on March 11.  Owned by C R K Stable, LLC, he’s trained by Peter Eurton and will be reunited with Gary Stevens, who did not ride him in the Triple Bend due to the fact he was in the process of returning to the saddle following hip replacement surgery.  A three-time graded stakes winner in Arcadia, it would appear there’s plenty of speed signed on to potentially flatter his late kick.  With an overall mark of 21-5-3-4, he has earnings of $1,044,250.

 

RANSOM THE MOON:  Based for most of his career at Woodbine, in Toronto, Canada, he was off at 6-1 in his first start for D’Amato on April 30 and ran as though he was 4-5, pressing the early pace and then airing by 4 ¼ lengths under Flavien Prat.  A 5-year-old full horse bred in Ontario, Canada and by Malibu Moon, Ransom the Moon earned a career best 98 Beyer Speed figure in his allowance romp, thereby earning a seat at the Kona Gold table.  Owned by Agave Racing Stable and Jeffry Wilke, he’s 16-3-5-1 overall with earnings of $170,829.

 

CALCULATOR:  A winner of the Grade III, one mile Sham Stakes in January, 2015, he was subsequently a close third here in the Grade II, seven furlong San Carlos Stakes in March, 2016, and was then second in a pair of prestigious out of town sprints; the Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 9, 2016 and the Grade II Churchill Downs on May 7, 2016.      Following that, he was well beaten in the Grade I Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park on June 11, 2016.  From there, he’s tried turf in his last three starts, his most recent an 11th place finish in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland April 14.  Reunited on Saturday with Norberto Arroyo, Jr., who won on him the only time he rode him two starts back in a 6 ½ furlong turf sprint on March 2, look for this 5-year-old Florida-bred son of In Summation to rally from off the pace.  Owned by Richard C. Pell, Calculator is 13-3-4-3 overall with earnings of $484,260.

 

MOE CANDY:  Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, he was a sharp second two starts back in the Grade II, six furlong Palos Verdes Stakes, but ran a dull sixth at the same distance in the Grade III, six furlong Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park, beaten 4 ¾ lengths.  A 5-year-old full horse by Candy Ride, Moe Candy is 8-3-2-2 with earnings of $165,280.

 

THE GRADE II KONA GOLD STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 9 of 11 Approximate post time 5 p.m. PT

 

  1. Moe Candy–Santiago Gonzalez– 122
  2. Calculator–Noberto Arroyo, Jr.–122
  3. Kobe’s Back–Gary Stevens–122
  4. Kentuckian–Tyler Baze–122
  5. Touched by Autism–Tiago Pereira–122
  6. Ransom the Moon–Flavien Prat– 122
  7. Lord Simba–Martin Garcia–122
  8. Eastwood–Joe Talamo–122
  9. Dorr–Rafael Bejarano – 122

 

Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday, Preakness Stakes Day at Santa Anita, is at 12 noon.  Admission gates will open at 9 a.m.  For complete racing information, please visit http://www.santaanita.com/horse-racing/live-racing/.