ARCADIA, CA – Cistron fired out of the gate and never looked back as he soared to victory in the Kona Gold Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park. This was the fourth career win for the five-year-old son of The Factor and his first win since the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn in 2017.
Cistron broke well on the inside and went straight to the front. Behind him sat All Out Blit, Zatter, and Kanthaka with Dr. Dorr at the rear. Into the turn, Cistron maintained just over a length between himself and the next closest horse and didn’t show any signs of slowing down as he set fractions of :22.07 and :44.70. As he hit the top of the stretch, his lead had extended to four lengths and was growing as he continued on to win by 5 1/4. Dr. Dorr made a solid late run but failed to pass All Out Blitz who finished second leaving Dr. Dorr to settle for third. The 3-2 post-time favorite Kanthaka finished fourth.
“When we saw this race was coming up light and there wasn’t much speed, we decided to supplement,” said trainer John Sadler. “It’s been great, Hronis Racing is as good a brand as you’ll see in racing, the safety and welfare of the horses is paramount with them. We start from there when we go out and look for horses…hopefully we keep developing a lot of (them).”
“The important thing for me and the horse today was that he broke running,” said jockey Victor Espinoza. “He was able to take control right away and at the sixteenth pole, I said ‘Where is everybody?’ He ran great all the way to the wire, John is an awesome trainer…It is the best feeling ever to be back and ride amazing horses and win amazing races. I’m just blessed to be here.”
After running on the turf in all of his last thirteen starts, Cistron, who is owned by Hronis Racing LLC, made the switch over to the dirt. The change in surface appeared to be a good one, bringing the five-year-old gelding his first career graded stakes victory.
“He always works nice on the dirt and he seems to like this track,” said owner Kosta Hronis. “He’s a pretty versatile horse. I guess not having the (hillside turf course) available made it an easy choice to put him back on dirt. . . It’s good to have Victor (Espinoza) back on board. He works well with John. They’re a good team.”
Cistron returned $15.60 to win, $5.60 to place, and $4.00 to show. All Out Blitz brought back $3.60 to place and $2.40 to show, while Dr. Dorr paid $2.40 to show.