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ARCADIA, CA – John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye kicked into high gear in the stretch to spring the 15/1 upset in Saturday’s $200,000 San Antonio Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 2 under Mike Smith, Kiss Today Goodbye sat back at the rear of the six-horse field, though Smith didn’t let him fall more than 6 lengths behind the pace at any point.
Take the One O One surged from his rail draw to take the lead passing the wire the first time and posted opening fractions of :23.83, :47.81, and 1:11.42 while the 1/2 favorite Mucho Gusto tracked in second.
Idol split the front-runners nearing the far turn, forcing Mucho Gusto to move with him, and together they joined Take the One O One on the lead near the top of the stretch.
Idol fell off a bit in the turn but re-rallied up the rail when Take the One O One drifted out, and as that happened, Mucho Gusto began spinning his wheels trying to move forward.
After riding the rail while cornering, Kiss Today Goodbye tipped out at the 3/16 pole and commenced a strong rally to the front.
Taking command inside the 1/16 pole, the Eric Kruljac trainee crossed a 1/2-length clear, completing the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:43.37.
“I was impressed with his last race and I wasn’t even riding him,” Smith said. “He ran by me in that last race. I thank Eric Kruljac for the opportunity of riding him and for his great training job. The race was shaping up for him with the speed up front and when it came time to run, he took off. I just guided him around the track.”
Idol fought hard on the inside to take second by 3/4 of a length over Take the One O One, while Mucho Gusto faded late to fourth.
Midcourt and Extra Hope completed the order of finish. Combatant and Sharp Samurai scratched.
Kiss Today Goodbye’s win was his first at the stakes level and second straight following a strong score against optional claimers going 1 mile at Del Mar. The 3-year-old Cairo Prince colt, purchased for $150,000 as a yearling, has now earned $230,802 to go with his 11-3-0-3 record.
“This was absolutely an owner’s decision,” Kruljac said. “John said his sheet numbers were going up and up, and he is a numbers guy. The horse is trained like that, but as a trainer, I look at the older horses and see what they have already done, I go, ‘Oh my God, what are we doing?’ But he was right! It sure set up well, and the two scratches helped.”
Kiss Today Goodbye returned $33.60 to win, $10.60 to place, and $6.60 to show. Idol brought back $5.20 to place and $5.20 to show, while Take the One O One paid $14.40 to show.
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