Kirstenbosch Rolls Late To Take G3 Chillingworth

September 29, 2023

Kirstenbosch flies home a winner in the Chillingworth (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Abrahams Homebred Filly by Midnight Lute Headed to BC Filly & Mare Sprint Nov. 4

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— With a fast pace to run at, John Sadler’s Kirstenbosch flew late to take Friday’s Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes on Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet opening feature by 1 ¾ lengths. Owned and bred by Keith Abrahams and ridden by Hector Berrios, Kirstenbosch, a 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute, got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.37 and is now headed to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Sprint at seven furlongs on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

With eventual runner-up Clearly Unhinged, heavily favored Eda and no less than three other fillies vying for early supremacy, Berrios was content to be next to last, about eight lengths off the lead past the half mile pole. Around the far turn, Kirstenbosch saved ground, then tipped four wide for home as Clearly Unhinged opened up on the field, but with fractions of 21.66, 43.69 and 1:08.80 in the bank, she was no match for the winner who reeled her in about 50 yards out.

“What I’ve been talking about with Keith (Abrahams) is it is not the distance for her, it is the setup, and she finally got the setup she wanted, which is faster,” said Sadler. “She always puts in a good late run, but if they go slow in front, it’s sometimes hard for her.”

When asked if Kirstenbosch will now go to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Sadler said: “Yes, because it’s seven eighths and you might get a strong pace.”

“Seven furlongs is probably better as we can see. In the past she was always catching up then we tried a mile and sixteenth, but a mile and an eighth is what she really wants. They don’t write a lot of mile and an eighth races, because of the breeding, so you almost have to wait for the Breeders’ Cup for a mile and an eighth race,” said owner Keith Abrahams.

To the winner’s circle for Kirstenbosch (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

“Her mother Llandudno who I owned and bred won six and a half down the hill and her half-sister was also a winner at six and a half turf.” 

“We’re very fortunate. (Hector Berrios) is just fantastic, John said to me a couple of races prior how he’s just got a nice soft touch on the horse, and he allows the horse to get into stride. She is a very big filly so she kind of needs that. When the racing needs to get started, he gets it done. So, he has been fantastic for her,” he continued.

Most recently second in the Grade III Rancho Bernardo Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs Aug. 27 at Del Mar, Kirstenbosch was off at 6-1 in a field of seven fillies and mares three and up and paid $15.00, $5.40 and $2.40.

“I knew there was a lot of speed in the race, and I knew the pace would be in my favor,” said Berrios. “I tried to stay as still as I could on her and around the turn, I asked her, and she responded well and drew away from the field.”

Out of the Belong to Me mare Llandudno, Kirstenbosch, who had been winless in six starts following victory in the Grade III La Canada Stakes here Jan. 15, picked up $60,000 for the win, boosting her earnings to $521,480 from and overall mark of 17-4-5-2.

Sent from her rail post position, Clearly Unhinged ran a huge race in defeat, taking intense pressure and finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of Eda. Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Clearly Unhinged was the second choice at 4-1 and paid $5.20 and $2.60.

Victorious in the Rancho Bernardo and in search of her eighth consecutive win, Eda pressed the pace, swung wide turning for home but had no kick today. Trained by Bob Baffert and off at 3-5, she paid $2.10 to show while finishing 4 ½ lengths in front of Elm Drive.First post time for a 10-race card that includes four stakes on Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.

@jonathanstettin Wonderful article! You’re a great ambassador for the game! We’ve been spoiled with elite equine athletes in recent memory.

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