Kentuckian gets another chance
ARCADIA, Calif. – Once again, Kentuckian is ready for a comeback.
Once again, there are hopes the 5-year-old will have a season that displays the potential owner Rick Porter and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer have expected from him.
“He’s always had a lot of ability,” Hollendorfer said. “We’ve had this and that with him. We feel like we have him ready to run.”
Kentuckian is part of a field of six in an optional claimer at six furlongs Friday at Santa Anita. The field also includes Well Measured, who was second by a nose in the California Cup Sprint on Jan. 28, and Blameitonthelaw, who was third in the Clocker’s Corner Stakes on the hillside turf course Jan. 29.
Kentuckian has made only seven starts and has had two significant layoffs. He was off for more than a year, from July 2015 to July 2016, and on Friday makes his first start since Sept. 30.
Kentuckian is jockey Mike Smith’s only booked mount on Friday’s eight-race card.
Kentuckian, by Tiznow Last 3 Beyers: 76-84-72
◗ Kentuckian did not race at 2. He started four times at 3 in 2015, winning his debut by 11 lengths and the Grade 3 Laz Barrera Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths, and finishing third in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby in July in his final start that year.
◗ Last year, Kentuckian was eighth, third, and fifth in his three races, all optional-claiming races at Del Mar or Santa Anita. Hollendorfer said he gave Kentuckian a break last fall for minor ailments. Bet Santa Anita with DRF Bets: drfbets.com
“I wasn’t happy with his muscle tone,” he said. “He had a foot problem and now he’s good again.”
◗ Kentuckian, purchased for $610,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in 2013, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 on Feb. 9 at Santa Anita.
“He had a beautiful workout the other day,” Hollendorfer said. “We hope to get him back and running, get him on the win trail.
“We need to give him another chance.”
Well Measured, by Benchmark Last 3 Beyers: 98-81-81
◗ Well Measured closed well to just miss catching Richard’s Boy in the Cal Cup Sprint at six furlongs, his first start since being claimed for $20,000 from an optional claimer for statebreds Jan. 2.
◗ Trained by Richard Baltas, Well Measured can set the pace or race as a stalker. Leading rider Flavien Prat has the mount for the first time.
Distinctive B, by With Distinction Last 3 Beyers: 94-88-97
◗ Distinctive B has won two of his last four starts, taking a $40,000 claimer at Del Mar on Sept. 1 and an optional claimer at Los Alamitos on Dec. 9. Trained by Peter Miller for Gary Hartunian, Distinctive B was second to Moe Candy as the 9-5 favorite in an optional claimer here Jan. 8.
◗ Distinctive B has sufficient speed to be a factor from the start for jockey Tyler Baze.
◗ Miller also starts Texas Two Step, who won a $32,000 claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track here Jan. 7 and drew the outside post for this race.