Brushwood Stable's Kicken Kris put the final touches on a eventful Arlington Million Day by posting a 15-1 upset in the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) for 3-year-olds with Javier Castellano riding.
Kicken Kris, a Kentucky-bred son of Kris S. trained by Michael Matz, registered a 3 1/2-length victory over 20-1 shot Joe Bear, ridden by David Flores. Lismore Knight and Rene Douglas was two lengths farther back in third. The final time for the 1 1/4-mile Secretariat was 2:02 2/5 on a turf course rated good.
Kicken Kris was caught three wide into the first turn but continued to press the pace from the outside into the stretch, where he challenged for the lead and established command down the lane under right-handed urging from Castellano.
"Today he broke sharp out of the gate and I rode him comfortable and confident and I knew I had the horse," the jockey said.
Native Hawk led into the stretch through fractions of :24 1/5, :49 1/5, 1:14 and 1:38 4/5 before giving way. Joe Bear, next-to-last early, waited for room at the quarter pole after reaching contention on the turn and took up the chase of Kicken Kris along the rail down the lane but could not challenge. Lismore Knight saved ground into the stretch and launched his bid at the head of the lane, but couldn't sustain it.
"A hole opened up for me turning for home and I thought I had a chance but my horse didn't accelerate quickly enough so they got away from me," said Douglas. "I was just beaten by better horses."
Just Wonder, the 3-1 lukewarm choice ridden by Kent Desormeaux, was 10th in the 11-horse field, never a factor after a wide trip. France, the second choice also at 3-1, stalked the pace and came up empty after going five wide on the final turn to finish fourth.
Second most recently in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs July 12, Kicken Kris picked up a $240,000 check for owner Elizabeth Moran. His third win in 10 career starts improved his career bankroll to $397,600. Valerie Naify bred Kicken Kris, who now boast three wins and two seconds in five career grass outings.
"Mrs. Moran wanted a horse to run on the dirt but once we got him on the turf ... it looks like this horse's true talent on is on the turf and he showed it today," Matz said.
Kicken Kris paid $32, $13 and $7.60. The Irish bred Joe Bear returned $16.40 and $8. Lismore Knight's show price was $5. The $2 exacta was worth $414.20.