Neko Bay, a promising son of world-class stallion Giant’s Causeway, seeks his first stakes victory Saturday in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup (gr. III) for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita main track.
Neko Bay, owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, who teamed to shock the racing world when their Giacomo won the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at 50-1, was second in his only previous stakes race.
The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt finished 1 3/4 lengths behind Blazing Sunset in the restricted Alydar Stakes at Hollywood Park last May 14. He has won his other three races and has earned $120,103.
Despite the fact that only six horses were entered in the 1 1/8-mile race for 4-year-olds and up, contention runs deep.
Bobby Frankel, who recently became the leading trainer in Santa Anita history, chases his 11th stakes win of the meet, which would break a tie with leading trainer Doug O’Neill. Frankel sends out Stronach Stables’ Racketeer. O’Neill seeks his second Tokyo City victory in three years with Yes He’s a Pistol. O’Neill won the race in 2005 with Supah Blitz. The Tokyo City was run as the San Bernardino Handicap from 1957 through 2004.
Racketeer will be ridden by sensational apprentice Joseph Talamo, who makes his Santa Anita stakes debut after leading the standings at the Fair Grounds and arriving at Santa Anita at the behest of Frankel.
Fairbanks, sixth in the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) after stumbling at the start, attempts to get back on the winning track for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. Like Neko Bay a son of Giant’s Causeway, Fairbanks has won three of seven starts.
The Tokyo City starting high weight is the veteran Preachinatthebar, a 6-year-old son of 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm who has a 9-1-4 record from 31 starts. The gray horse trained by Bob Baffert is nearing millionaire status. Preachinatthebar has earned $829,907 for owner Mike Pegram.
$100,000 Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III, Race 4, 2 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Neko Bay (KY), 113, Aaron T. Gryder
2. Fairbanks (KY), 113, Richard Migliore
3. Beneath the Radar (FL), 113, Alex O. Solis
4. Yes He's a Pistol (FL), 114, Michael C. Baze
5. Preachinatthebar (KY), 117, Jon K. Court
6. Racketeer (KY), 113, Joseph Talamo