Consistent Kettle Corn is set to try for the second graded stakes win of his career and first since 2011 when he faces an expected 10 other starters in the $100,000 Cougar II Handicap (gr. III) on the night of July 26 at Del Mar.
While C R K Stable's Kettle Corn has just one stakes win to date, the 2011 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at Betfair Hollywood Park, he does boast eight other stakes placings. In two of his past four stakes starts, the 6-year-old Candy Ride horse has hit the board but finished behind Game On Dude, including a runner-up finish to the California-based standout July 6 in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I).
Kettle Corn, also entered in the San Diego Handciap (gr. II) July 27, would be trying the 1 1/2-mile distance for the first time in the Cougar II, where he will carry 122 pounds as the field's highweight. Trainer John Sadler will give Rafael Bejarano a leg up after the jockey guided Kettle Corn to the runner-up Hollywood Gold Cup finish.
Two accomplished horses in the Cougar II field with wins at the distance include last year's Cougar II victor, multiple grade I winner Richard's Kid, who enters off a third-place finish in the Pimlico Special Stakes (gr. III); and graded stakes winner Sky Kingdom, who earned a grade III victory at 1 1/2 miles when the Empire Maker colt won this year's Tokyo City Cup Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Also trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time is last year's Swaps Stakes (gr. II) winner Blueskiesnrainbows.
$100,000 Cougar II Handicap (gr. III, race 7, approximate post time 7 p.m. PDT) 3YO&Up, 1 1/2 miles, Polytrack
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mr T Bird (KY), J. Leparoux, 114, M. Puype
2. Lime Rickey (KY), A. Delgadillo, 115, W. Spawr
3. Ollisblackgold (KY), E. Maldonado, 118, C. Dollase
4. Majestic Moment (KY), V. Espinoza, 114, J. Sadler
5. Kettle Corn (KY), R. Bejarano, 122, J. Sadler
6. Sky Kingdom (KY), M. Garcia, 120, B. Baffert
7. Richard's Kid (MD), J. Talamo, 121, D. O'Neill
8. Grandstand (KY), K. Krigger, 113, C. Autrey
9. Golden Itiz (KY), A. Quinonez, 116, J. Sadler
10. Rousing Sermon (CA), C. Nakatani, 115, J. Hollendorfer
11. Blueskiesnrainbows (VA), M. Pedroza, 116, J. Hollendorfer