Decarchy rallied from mid-pack to win Saturday's $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) in a blanket finish at Santa Anita. On the firm turf and under jockey Kent Desormeaux, Decarchy completed the mile in 1:34.04, a neck ahead of Sarafan, with Designed for Luck a head length farther back and a neck ahead of 6-5 favorite Val Royal.
"I had so much horse that I thought I could go by (Designed for Luck) any time I wanted to," said Desormeaux. "But we squared up, started the run for the wire and I barely made up an inch on that horse. Then, finally, Decarchy switched leads and found another gear and lo and behold, he got there."
The win marks the second straight for Decarchy, a Juddmonte Farms 5-year-old homebred and half-brother of Chester House and Honest Lady who previously won the Tanforan Handicap (gr. IIIT) last month at Golden Gate Fields. Decarchy earned $180,000 for his sixth win from nine career starts.
As for Val Royal, jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. said, "I don't have any complaints; we had a perfect trip in a full field. He finished awesome, but it took him a couple of strides longer than usual to really get going. Part of that, I think, was because the pace wasn't very fast. But he's the same awesome horse, and this should set him up for the next one."
That next one, according to trainer Julio Canani, will still be the Dubai Duty Free. However, the conditioner offered a different view of the favorite's trip in Saturday's race.
"He spent too much time on the fence, on the inside,"Canani complained. "How are you going to get a horse running when he's got no place to run? A stretch runner shouldn't be stuck on the fence, but what are you going to do? He's going on to Dubai."
Finishing behind the favorite were pacesetter Malabar Gold, Thady Quill, Irish Prize, Night Patrol, No Slip, Spinelessjellyfish, and Stratton.
Decarchy returned $18, $9.80, and $5.80 for the win. Sarafan paid $14.60 and $9.60. Designed for Luck was worth $5.60 to show. The $1 exacta paid $116. (Chart, Equibase