Argentine-bred Suggestive Boy, an impressive 2 1/2-length winner of the Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) over the Santa Anita Park turf course one month ago, heads an eight-horse field in the $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (gr. IT) March 2.
The race, named for the legendary racing secretary who was largely responsible for Santa Anita’s ascension as a world-class racing venue, is the ninth race on the program, just before the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). It has a probable post of 4 p.m. PST.
In the Feb. 2 Arcadia, also at one mile, Suggestive Boy lived up to the promise he had shown in his U.S. debut when second to Jeranimo in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) last June at Betfair Hollywood Park. In winning the Arcadia, he overcame the 12 post in a field of 13, sitting mid-pack on the outside before launching an impressive four-wide bid under Joe Talamo and grabbing the lead mid-stretch.
From the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, 5-year-old Suggestive Boy is a multiple grade I winner in Argentina owned by Pozo de Luna Inc. He drew post 3 for his return in the Kilroe, in which he will face four of the horses he beat in the Arcadia, including runner-up Wilkinson and third-place Silentio. Also in the field is Mr. Commons. Last year's Arcadia winner and runner-up as the odds-on choice in the Kilroe is making his first start since running fifth in last fall's Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita.
McAnally’s stable star drilled five furlongs on the turf Feb. 23 in 1:01 2/5.
"He worked well," said McAnally of the son of Easing Along. "He did it really nice and I don’t think we’ll get the 12 post position again."
Suggestive Boy, with Joe Talamo aboard, has a 12-6-2-0 record from $497,370 in earnings.
E.K. Gaylord II's Wilkinson, trained by Jeff Mullins, was off at 7-1 in the Arcadia and while he put in a nice stretch bid from between horses under Martin Pedroza, he could not match Suggestive Boy. A 44-1 winner of the American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Betfair Hollywood Park May 26, the 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid will be making his third start off a seven-month layoff following his win in the American.
Wertheimer & Frere’s homebred Silentio was the slight 4-1 favorite in the Arcadia but encountered some traffic difficulties on the far turn before swinging five wide for the drive. The Gary Mandella trainee retains the services of Rafael Bejarano after losing the Arcadia by three lengths. The lightly raced 4-year-old son of the Sunday Silence stallion Silent Name won the Sir Beaufort (gr. IIT) over sophomores Dec. 26 at one mile on the grass. He has three wins and two thirds from five starts.
Trainer John Shirreffs will send out the tough-luck Mr. Commons, who although he’s come close, hasn’t won in six starts since taking last year’s Arcadia. A come-from-behinder, Mr. Commons will be handled for the first time by veteran Corey Nakatani.
Mr. Commons lost last year's Kilroe by a neck to Willyconker when his willing late bid came up just short at odds of 4-5.
Idle since he was beaten only three lengths by eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 3, the 5-year-old horse by Artie Schiller has to be accorded a huge chance on Saturday. Owned by his breeder, St. George Farm Racing, Mr. Commons has a record of 17-5-5-2, with earnings of $789,660.
The biggest question mark in the Kilroe is Fed Biz, thought by many to be Bob Baffert’s leading Derby prospect a year ago. Winner of the San Fernando (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 12, he was perhaps exposed at the slightly longer distance of the 1 1/8-mile Strub Stakes Feb. 2, in which he was third. The son of Giant's Causeway will be trying turf for the first time while also making his initial appearance against older rivals.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, Fed Biz drilled a solid half-mile on turf in :48 2/5 Feb. 23.
Also coming out of the Arcadia is fourth-place finisher Akkadian and Irish-bred Vagabond Shoes, who was ninth in his U.S. debut.
Gary Broad’s Akkadian rallied from far off the Arcadia pace to be nosed for the show spot. The Julio Canani trainee will again hope for a fast pace to run into. Garrett Gomez, who won with him over the course two starts back, will ride the 5-year-old Tiznow gelding once more.
Vagabond Shoes, trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing, is a multiple group winner in France who was off at 7-1 in the Arcadia. The 6-year-old Beat Hollow gelding could well have needed the race after a five-month layoff, and will get a new rider in Martin Garcia for the Kilroe.
$300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (gr. IT, Race 9, 4 p.m.), 4 & Up (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Silentio (KY), R Bejarano, 118, G Mandella
2. Fed Biz (KY), M E Smith, 118, B Baffert
3. Suggestive Boy (ARG), J Talamo, 118, R L McAnally
4. Vagabond Shoes (IRE), M Garcia, 118, J W Sadler
5. Akkadian (KY), G K Gomez, 118, J C Canani
6. Forest Mouse (KY), R Eikleberry, 123, H Dominguez
7. Wilkinson (KY), M A Pedroza, 118, J Mullins
8. Mr. Commons (KY), C S Nakatani, 118, J A Shirreffs