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ARCADIA, Calif. (March 12, 2016)—Last with a quarter mile to run, Kobe’s Back came rolling through the lane to take Saturday’s Grade II, $300,000 San Carlos Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths under Gary Stevens. Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s CRK Stable and trained by Peter Eurton, favored Kobe’s Back covered the seven furlong San Carlos in 1:22.20.
Saturday’s win by the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Flatter followed another last to first thriller in the Grade II, six furlong Palos Verdes Stakes on Feb. 7 and thus represented his first back-to-back stakes triumph in his 18th overall start.
“It’s the best he’s ever broken (from the starting gate),” said Stevens. I’ve been aboard him in a couple of workouts in the mornings before his last race and again last week, and there have been a few times that he’s wanted to go after horses in front of him and I’ve let him. What I found out is that he’s not only a great stretch runner, but he’s a good turn runner.
“And that wasn’t the case last year. With a little time off and the addition of blinkers, it’s made him a lot more focused…I knew at the half mile pole that they were all in deep water and that’s a pretty good feeling.”
Breaking from the far outside in a field of eight older horses, Kobe’s back was off at 2-1 and paid $6.00, $3.60 and $2.60. With the winner’s share of $180,000, he increased his earnings to $952,250.
“Did you see how he came out of the gate?” said Eurton. “He broke too fresh, and that was good. He’s just good right now. He’s the best he’s been in so long. Gary hustled him a little bit and then he kind of let him fall back. He’ll probably run next at Churchill Downs on Derby Day (May 7, in the Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs).”
Ridden by Tyler Baze, Coastline rallied gamely for the place, finishing a half length in front of Calculator. Off at 13-1, Coastline paid $9.60 and $4.20.
Calculator, with Flavien Prat up, completed the all-grey trifecta and paid $2.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.79, 45.16 and 1:09.84.
GARY STEVENS, KOBE’S BACK, WINNER: “It was the best he’s ever broken. I’ve been aboard him in a couple of workouts in the mornings, before his last race and again last week and there have been a few times that he’s wanted to go after horses in front of him and I’ve let him. What I found out is that he’s not only a great stretch runner but he’s a good turn runner. And that wasn’t the case last year. With a little time off and the addition of blinkers he seems a lot more focused.
“He’s running on the turn so he’s gaining ground and doesn’t have to work so hard in the stretch. It gives me a lot of confidence. I knew at the half-mile pole that they were all in deep water and that’s a pretty good feeling.”
“Pete’s got him figured out.”
TYLER BAZE, COASTLINE, SECOND: “I had a beautiful trip. I didn’t really know how much he would eat the dirt, but I watched the replays from his dirt races and it looked like he had handled dirt in the face just fine. I really kind of let him run his race. I wanted to be patient with him going from six and a half down the hill to seven eighths, I think the distance is never a question with him, but I wanted to make sure I timed it right – especially when I had to thread the needle through a haystack. He ran really good.”
FLAVIEN PRAT, CALCULATOR, THIRD: “I had a good race, he [Calculator] had his shot and he was a little bit aggressive on the back side. That’s my only regret but overall, we had a good trip. He’s a good horse and he’s going to improve anyway so I’m happy with that race.”
PETER EURTON, KOBE’S BACK, WINNER: Did you see how he came out of the gate? He broke too fresh, and that was good. He’s just good right now. He’s the best he’s been in so long. Gary hustled him a little bit and then he kind of let him fall back.”
“He’ll probably run next at Churchill Downs on Derby Day (May 7 in the Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs).”
NOTES: The winning owners Lee and Susan Searing of Rancho Cucamonga who race as C R K Stable.
Source: Santa Anita Park
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