Popular 7-year-old Kiss the Kid is back to defend his title as the slight favorite in the $100,000 Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Gulfstream Park turf March 20.
The 7 1/2-furlong Appleton is one of five graded stakes on the Florida Derby (gr. I) program and attracted nine entrants. It is the ninth race on the card with a probable post of 5:14 p.m.
The versatile Kiss the Kid was aimed a little high in his last start for owner/trainer Amy Tarrant's Hardacre Farm, fading to seventh, 18 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Quality Road in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Gulfstream's main track Feb. 6.
A five-time winner on grass, Kiss the Kid used his victory as the favorite in last year's Appleton to kick off his spring and summer campaign at Monmouth Park. It is his only prior start over the Gulfstream turf course.
The Kentucky-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid ran into some hard luck after that victory and hasn't visited the winner's circle since while beaten by a neck in three separate stakes tries--the off-the-turf Oceanport, the Meadowlands Cup (gr. II), both over sloppy tracks, and the off-the-turf Ft. Lauderdale (gr. III) on a good Gulfstream track Jan. 10. The veteran runner brings an overall record of 8-5-6 in 37 starts with earnings of $760,873.
For the Appleton, Kiss the Kid shares high weight of 122 pounds with Rahy's Attorney while made the 5-2 choice. The dark bay horse will break from post 3 with Eddie Castro aboard. Castro rode Kiss the Kid in both the Donn and the Ft. Lauderdale.
Grade I winner Rahy's Attorney, who races for his breeder, Ellie Boje Farm and partners, is pegged at 3-1 for the Appleton though he has struggled at times for trainer Ian Black in recent months. A champion turf performer in Canada, where the Ontario-bred won the 2008 Woodbine Mile (Can-IT), the lifetime earner of more than $1.5 million ran last of nine in his most recent start, the Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Feb. 20.
Javier Castellano will try to get Rahy's Attorney back to his best, replacing Canadian rider Robert Landry. The 6-year-old Crown Attorney gelding has won 10 of 27 career starts.
A second Ontario-bred, Society's Chairman, kicks off his 2010 campaign for trainer Roger Attfield in this spot. Charles Fipke's 7-year-old son of Not Impossible finished second to Kiss the Kid in the 2009 Ft. Lauderdale and was in in the money in seven of 10 starts during the year while winning twice. Society's Chairman is 6-3-4 in 19 races, while banking $410,295 in his career.
Jose Lezcano picks up the mount on Society's Chairman, who must deal with the rail in his first start since a third-place finish in the Sir Barton Stakes at Woodbine Dec. 2.
Boots Ahead, from the George Weaver stable, made his seasonal debut a winning one, capturing a one-mile allowance race by a neck with a late burst over a "good" Gulfstream turf course Feb. 6. The 4-year-old Storm Boot gelding seeks his first graded stakes win for owner Agnes Peace.
Weaver also entered Together Indy, who along with the Todd Pletcher-trained Storm Play, the Irish-bred Almoradi, and Carson Hall make this an interesting feature on the undercard.
$100,000 Appeton Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 5:14 p.m.), 4 & Up, 7 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Society's Chairman (ON), J Lezcano, 120, R L Attfield, 5/1
2. Together Indy (NJ), K J Desormeaux, 118, G Weaver, 12/1
3. Kiss the Kid (KY), E Castro, 122, A Tarrant, 5/2
4. Carson Hall (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, B Tagg, 10/1
5. Suyeta (KY), P Lopez, 118, M P Leahy, 20/1
6. Storm Play (VA), J R Velazquez, 118, T A Pletcher, 8/1
7. Rahy's Attorney (ON), J Castellano, 122, I Black, 3/1
8. Boots Ahead (KY), J R Leparoux, 120, G Weaver, 6/1
9. Almoradi (IRE), C S Nakatani, 118, P L Biancone, 8/1