ARCADIA, Calif. (June 24, 2015)–A gritty winner of the Grade II, 6 ½ furlong Kona Gold Stakes April 11, upstart Masochistic will attempt to maintain a one length advantage on multiple graded stakes winning veteran Sahara Sky, as this talented twosome heads a field of seven 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita.
Originally trained by A.C. Avila, California-bred Masochistic made his first start for trainer Ron Ellis and new owners Los Pollos Hermanos Racing and Jay Em Ess Stable in the Kona Gold, with the result a career-high 102 Beyer Speed figure. Arguably one of the fastest horses on the grounds, Masochistic has the ability to go 21 and change the first quarter mile and could be long gone if unchallenged early in the Triple Bend.
A 5-year-old gelding by Sought After, Masochistic was a galloping 4 ½ length allowance winner in his only try at seven furlongs, which came on synthetic Polytrack, four starts back at Del Mar last August. Masochistic is 7-5-1-0 overall with earnings of $343,850.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Sahara Sky, a 7-year-old horse by Pleasant Tap, made his 2015 debut in the Kona Gold and should improve with a recent race to his credit. A winner of the Grade I, one turn mile Metropolitan Handicap 25 months ago, he is 9-3-3-1 at seven furlongs and has five wins from 10 starts at Santa Anita.
Owned by Hollendorfer and Kim Lloyd’s Sweetwater Stable, Sahara Sky has a devastating turn of foot when he’s on his game and has pace to run at. With an overall mark of 22-8-4-5 and earnings of $1,169,578, he rates a huge chance at getting his second career Grade I win in the Triple Bend.
California-bred San Onofre and Florida-bred Wild Dude were separated by roughly one length while running second and third in the Grade III, six furlong Los Angeles Stakes on May 25 and both will hope to be as competitive in the seven furlong Triple Bend.
Owned by Matson Racing and trained by Karen Headley, San Onofre, a 5-year-old gelding by Surf Cat, kept to his task in game manner to finish second, beaten a neck and appears primed for a big effort stretching out a furlong. A handy winner of a seven furlong allowance five starts back in January, 2014, San Onofre will try the demanding seven furlong distance for the second time in the Triple Bend. He’ll be reunited with Alex Solis, who guided him to a close second place finish behind Masochistic two starts back in the Grade II Kona Gold Stakes on April 11.
San Onofre, who was bred by Headley’s father, trainer Bruce Headley, is 8-4-4-0 with earnings of $255,040.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Wild Dude’s lone win from five tries at seven furlongs came three starts back in the Grade II San Carlos Stakes here on March 7. With Rafael Bejarano opting to stick with Hollendorfer’s Sahara Sky, Flavien Prat will try his hand for the first time with Wild Dude. Owned by Hollendorfer and Green Smith, Wild Dude is 14-5-3-3 overall with earnings of $508,887.
A handy 3 ¼ length allowance winner going a flat mile on May 31, trainer Peter Miller’s Appealing Tale cuts back in distance a furlong as he seeks his first stakes victory. Owned by Gary and Cecil Barber, the 5-year-old Tale of the Cat gelding was third as a maiden in his only other try at seven furlongs. With an overall mark of 21-4-4-6 and earnings of $283,222, he retains the services of Joe Talamo.
Fourth at 17-1 behind Catch a Flight in the Grade II Californian, trainer Bob Hess Jr.’s Blue Tone tries a new game as he cuts back from a mile and one eighth. A two time minor stakes winner, Blue Tone hasn’t sprinted since running second in his debut, a 6 ½ furlong maiden special weight on April 20, 2013. Owned by Engelberg, Schroeder Farms, LLC and Steeper, Blue Tone is 16-5-3-2 with earnings of $356,150.
Second, beaten a nose in the 6 ½ furlong turf Siren Lure Stakes at Santa Anita May 31, trainer Jim Cassidy’s Holy Lute has raced exclusively on grass in his last five starts and hasn’t run on natural dirt since running third in a seven furlong allowance eight starts back here on June 15, 2014. Owned by Class Racing Stable, the 5-year-old horse by Midnight Lute is drawn well on the outside and will be ridden by Mike Smith, who was aboard for his last win four starts back in a hillside turf allowance sprint Feb. 12. He is 15-3-4-3 with earnings of $279,422.
With all horses assigned 119 pounds, the Triple Bend Stakes, to be run as the seventh on a 10-race card Saturday, with jockeys in post position order: Blue Tone, Kent Desormeaux; San Onofre, Alex Solis; Appealing Tale, Joe Talamo; Sahara Sky, Rafael Bejarano; Masochistic, Tyler Baze; Wild Dude, Flavien Prat, and Holy Lute, Mike Smith, 119.
With the Triple Bend serving as one of four graded stakes on Saturday’s 10-race program, first post time is 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.