Twist could be the horse to beat in the City of Hope Mile (Benoit Photo)
Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box
ARCADIA, Calif.— A much-troubled fifth in his most recent start, Hronis Racing’s French-bred Twist could be the horse to beat among a field of nine 3-year-olds and up in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita.
Trained by John Sadler, Twist, who will be making his fourth stateside start and his seeking his first North American stakes victory, was fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths following significant traffic trouble turning for home in the Grade II Del Mar Mile (turf) on Sept. 2. A convincing 1 ¾ lengths second condition allowance winner going a mile and one eighth on turf two starts back July 21 at Del Mar, Twist will be reunited with Hector Berrios, who did not ride him in his most recent outing.
A sharp second going a mile on turf in his U.S. debut here on June 4, Twist, a 6-year-old gelding, has earnings of $197,590 from an overall race record of 17-6-5-1.
Phil D’Amato’s Irish-bred Hong Kong Harry, a three-time graded stakes winner who has been idle since May 29, will no doubt garner plenty of pari-mutuel attention and could go favored off the bench. A 6-year-old gelding, diminutive Hong Kong Harry, at barely 15 hands and maybe 900 pounds, has the heart of a lion and a closing kick to match.
Dating back to his U.S. debut going a mile and one eighth on turf March 6, “Harry” won his first three starts and five out of his first six with D’Amato—three of which came in graded stakes. With Juan Hernandez taking over for the first time, Hong Kong Harry would relish a fast pace to run at and figures to be rolling late in what will be his 10thstateside engagement.
Owned by Scott Anastasi, Jimmy Ukegawa and Tony Valazza, Hong Kong Harry is 16-9-2-2 overall with earnings of $655,097.
THE GRADE II CITY OF HOPE MILE WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 10 of 10 Approximate post time 5:30 p.m. PT
1. IL Bellator—Alejandro Gomez—122
2. War At Sea—Victor Espinoza—122
3. Hit the Road—Joe Bravo—122
4. Hong Kong Harry—Juan Hernandez—124
5. Astronomer—Antonio Fresu—122
6. Flavius—Jose Valdivia, Jr.—122
7. Twist—Hector Berrios—122
8. Cathkin Peak—Umberto Rispoli—122
9. Irideo—Mike Smith—122
First post time for a 10-race card that will include three other stakes on Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.