IDLE SINCE AUG. 10, DEFENDING CHAMP WINNING PRIZE REUNITED WITH TOP JOCK BEJARANO
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2015)–Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) has attracted a wide open field of 12 older horses, headed by multiple graded stakes winners Summer Front, Za Approval, Ring Weekend, Home Run Kitten and last year’s Kilroe winner, Winning Prize.
Idle since running a close fourth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 1, Florida-based Summer Front has an outstanding 8-5-1-1 record at one mile on turf and will no doubt be plenty competitive off the bench Saturday. Trained by Christophe Clement, the 6-year-old horse by War Front will be ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza. Owned by Waterford Stable, he’s 21-8-5-3 overall with earnings of $994,140.
Trainer Mark Casse’s Za Approval, who was second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths in the Grade II, one mile turf Arcadia Stakes Jan. 31, will be ridden back by Mike Smith, who had the 7-year-old Ghostzapper gelding rolling late in his last out. Bred in Kentucky by his owner, Live Oak Plantation, Za Approval is 25-8-8-1 with earnings of $1,264,371.
Trainer Graham Motion’s well regarded Ring Weekend, who’s been idle since running sixth, only beaten 1 ½ lengths as the 8-5 favorite in Santa Anita’s Grade II Twilight Derby Oct. 31, made $842,150 from 10 starts last year and appears poised for another productive campaign beginning with the Kilroe on Saturday. Twice second in as many tries at a mile on turf, the 4-year-old Tapit gelding will likely be on the early lead or close to it under new rider Drayden Van Dyke. He’s owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds and is 13-4-3-2 overall with earnings of $855,410.
Third, beaten two lengths in the Grade II Arcadia Stakes Jan. 31, trainer David Hofmans’ Home Run Kitten is 5-2-1-2 at a mile on grass and can either press the pace or take back and make a run. Owned by Tarabilla Farms, Inc., the 4-year-old Kitten’s Joy colt has raced primarily on the Santa Anita turf, winning four of his nine starts here. With an overall mark of 12-4-2-3, he has earnings of $281,800 and will be ridden for the first time by Gary Stevens on Saturday.
Trainer Neil Drysdale’s Winning Prize, who won the Kilroe a year ago, has been idle since running a disappointing sixth as the 2-1 favorite in Woodbine’s Grade II, seven furlong turf Play the King Stakes on Aug. 10, but has proven effective when fresh and will get the services of Rafael Bejarano, who is a perfect two for two aboard the 6-year-old Argentine-bred horse and will likely position him close to the early lead. Owned by Heerensperger and Nelson, Winning Prize has an impeccable 7-5-1-0 mark at one mile on turf and is 15-8-1-1 overall with earnings of $612,913.
French-bred Talco, who proved competitive in all five of his stateside starts (four of them graded stakes) for trainer John Sadler, comes off a close second as the even money favorite in a 1 1/8 miles turf allowance Feb. 5 and will try to “break through” on Saturday when ridden for the first time by Santiago Gonzalez. A 4-year-old colt, Talco is owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, and would be well served by a fast pace.
Trainer Phil D’Amato’s English-bred Hay Dude comes off a close second at 7-2 in the restricted Clockers’ Corner Stakes, run at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course Jan. 25 and has two seconds and a third place finish from four stateside starts. Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, he’ll be ridden for the fourth time in a row by Kent Desormeaux and would appear best suited in the role of deep closer. He’s 10-2-2-2 at a mile on turf and is 16-3-4-4 overall with earnings of $115,249.
Second, beaten a nose in the 2013 Kilroe, trainer Gary Mandella’s classy Silentio was fifth, beaten two lengths, by Winning Prize in last year’s renewal and will hope to fire fresh on Saturday after being idle since well beaten in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 1. A winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade II, 1 1/16 miles turf Citation Handicap in November, 2013, 6-year-old Silentio has two wins from 10 starts on turf and is 15-4-1-7 overall. Owned and bred in Kentucky by Wertheimer and Frere, he’s 15-4-1-7 overall with earnings of $711,960. He’ll be ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat.
Fresh off a pair of downhill turf sprint wins, trainer Jim Cassidy’s Holy Lute will try two turns for the first time on turf and would appear to be the speed of the field. Owned by Class Racing Stable, the 5-year-old horse by top sprinter Midnight Lute is 12-3-2-3 overall with earnings of $243,672.
The complete field for the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile, to be run as the 10th race on an 11-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Talco, Santiago Gonzalez, 118; Hay Dude, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Winning Prize, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Holy Lute, Tyler Baze, 118; Mr. Commons, Martin Garcia, 118; Silentio, Flavien Prat, 118; Mega Heat, Corey Nakatani, 118; Summer Front, Victor Espinoza, 118; Home Run Kitten, Gary Stevens, 118; Ring Weekend, Drayden Van Dyke, 118; Za Approval, Mike Smith, 118, and Dimension, Joe Talamo, 118.
There will be special early first post time at 12 noon on Saturday, Santa Anita Handicap Day. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m.