The Richard Mandella-trained Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) duo of Cagney and Kudos were both put through their final drills Wednesday morning in preparation for Saturday's $1 million event, set at 1 1/4 miles over the main track.
TNT Stud's Brazilian-bred Cagney went three furlongs in :35 under jockey Mike Smith, who will be aboard for Saturday's main event. The five-year-old son of Roy will break from the inside post position and was installed as the 8-1 sixth choice on the morning line. The Big 'Cap will be Cagney's first North American dirt start after winning the grassy Carleton F. Burke H. (gr. III) in October followed by a third-place finish in the San Marcos H. (gr. II) on January 21.
"He went very well," Mandella said. "He's been training very well. It just all depends on how he's going to like the dirt. You just never know how they'll take to it. I guess we're going to find out, though."
In North America, Cagney has racked up a career line of 9-2-1-2, for earnings of $210,965. In addition to his impressive performances in the aforementioned Carleton F. Burke and San Marcos, Cagney also won last year's Escondido H. at Del Mar and was second in the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial H. (gr. I).
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss' Kudos, who won his first dirt race in the Feb. 17 San Marino H. last out after the 1 1/4-mile event was taken off the turf, also went three furlongs in :35. The five-year-old gelded son of Kris S. will have regular jockey Eddie Delahoussaye aboard Saturday and the team will break from post position six. Kudos was made the co-second longest shot in the 14-runner field at odds of 15-1.
"Did you see that?" Mandella asked as Kudos galloped out. "He looked like he went in :37 or so, not :35. It was like nothing for him."
Kudos, who has banked $288,935 with a record of five wins and four seconds from 17 starts, also won last year's Jim Murray H. and was second in the Sunset H. (gr. II) and Steinlen H.