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ARCADIA, Calif. – Kiss Today Goodbye was 15-1 when he won last year’s San Antonio Stakes, but he could be a somewhat shorter price when he defends that victory in Sunday’s Grade II event for older horses at 1 1/16 miles, despite facing a more daunting lineup.
“You’ve got Hot Rod Charlie plus two (Bob) Baffert horses (Azul Coast and Eight Rings, first and third, respectively, in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes last out Nov. 20 at Del Mar).”
That said, Kiss Today Goodbye was second in the Native Diver, a length and a quarter in front of Eight Rings and again will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux, who was in classic Hall of Fame form at Del Mar, displaying the same God-given skills at 51 that he did when he rode his first “official” winner at age 16 in 1986 at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Louisiana.
“Kent was riding great at Del Mar, and actually there’s no other place to run the horse, so we’ll give it a shot and hope for the best on Sunday,” Kruljac said. “It’s a big step up but he’s training well, so you never know.”
Kiss Today Goodbye was making his first start in four months in the Native Diver, which should benefit the four-year-old colt in the San Antonio, which has a relatively small field, another potential advantage.
“He doesn’t like kickback (dirt in his face), which I feel attributed to his worst efforts, but this is a seven-horse field, not a 12-horse field, so that goes in his favor,” Kruljac said.
“I finally put blinkers on him the Native Diver and I think that helped him cope with the kickback. On these dry race tracks in California, the kickback is really large.”
The field for the San Antonio, race six of 11 with an 11 a.m. first post time:
1. Extra Hope, Tyler Baze, 20-1
2. Express Train, Victor Espinoza, 7-2
3. Go On, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1
4. Hot Rod Charlie, Flavien Prat, 6-5
5. Eight Rings, John Velazquez, 4-1
6. Kiss Today Goodbye, Kent Desormeaux, 5-1
7. Azul Coast, Juan Hernandez, 5-1.
Invader Canoodling Eyes First Grade I Victory
Canoodling won the Albuquerque Distaff Handicap Aug. 15, 2021. (Coady Photography)
Canoodling invades from racing’s hinterlands to compete Sunday in her first Grade I event, the $300,000 La Brea Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.
It will be the daughter of Pioneerof the Nile’s first start for trainer Mike Puype after having raced in New Mexico and Texas for trainer Todd Fincher. In 2020, she finished fifth in three Southern California stakes for trainer Jeff Mullins.
“They sent her to me from New Mexico and we’ve had her a couple weeks,” said Puype, who will give a leg up to Roimes Chirinos. The 33-year-old Venezuela native has ridden Canoodling (it means “to engage in amorous embracing, caressing and kissing,” like lovers canoodling in the park) in her last five races, winning two.
“She’s had a work over the track and I didn’t think the race came up super-tough, so maybe they did the right thing giving her a chance to run here,” Puype said.
“The problem, is she’s got to deal with the rail. It’s not a good post on any given day, but we’ll be ready to run Sunday and see what we can do.
“They wanted Roimes to come in to ride her. He’s winning races on her, and that’s good.”
The La Brea is race eight:
1. Canoodling, Roimes Chirinos, 8-1
2. Eddie’s New Dream, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1
3. Kalypso, John Velazquez, 5-1
4. Private Mission, Flavien Prat, 8-5
5. Missy P., Mike Smith, 5-2
6. Brilliant Cut, Jose Ortiz, 12-1
7. Livingmybestlife, Juan Hernandez, 7-2.
FINISH LINES: Top jock Flavien Prat could get off to a flying start Sunday as agent Brad Pegram has him named to ride horses in all 11 races, eight of them morning line favorites . . . Trainer Michael McCarthy has a busy opening day with six horses entered, three of them in the Grade I American Oaks, Nicest, Charges Dropped and Single Soul. “I believe that’s the most I’ve ever entered in a stakes,” said McCarthy, who also has Preakness winner Rombauer and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Ce Ce on the comeback trail, each having worked a half-mile last week…A reminder, special early first post time for an 11-race card on Sunday is at 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m.
Latest content from XBTV:
Dr. Schivel (Glatt) 12-20-21
Kalypso (Baffert) 12-20-21
Via Egnatia (Baltas) 12-20-21
Flightline (Sadler) 12-19-21
Beyond Brilliant (Shirreffs) 12-19-21
Kiss Today Goodbye (Kruljac) 12-19-21
Bob and Jackie (Baltas) 12-19-21
Say The Word (D’Amato) 12-19-21
Majestic Eagle (Drysdale) 12-19-21
Santa Anita Stable Notes by Ed Golden
Photo: Kiss Today Goodbye by Benoit Photos