Hardacre Farm’s Kiss the Kid took advantage of a perfect trip from Elvis Trujillo and scored a half-length victory in the $100,000 Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) March 28 on the Gulfstream turf.
A 6-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid , Kiss the Kid won for the third time in his last four starts. His only loss during that five-month span was last out in the Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT) when finishing only 1 1/4 lengths back in fourth.
Trujillo kept Kiss the Kid mid-pack in the early going while saving ground in the 7 1/2-furlong Appleton, with Bold Start taking the field of eight through splits of :23.98 and :47.27. Artic Cry and Julien Leparoux pressed the pace and inched closer to the front before finally taking a short lead entering the stretch.
Third at the top of the lane, Kiss the Kid was angled out for his stretch bid. He chased down Artic Cry and Bold Start until finally edging in front in the final strides. The final time on the firm turf was 1:28.01.
Artic Cry was three-parts of a length in front of third-place Passager, who came with a determined late run but had to be steadied mid-stretch when unsuccessfully attempting to split horses under Jose Lezcano.
Kiss the Kid, bred in Kentucky by Jayeff B Stables and out of the Danzig mare Black Tie Kiss, improved to 8-2-5 from 27 starts. He has now earned $609,767. Amy Tarrant trains the dark bay horse, whose only other graded stakes score came in the Cliff Hanger (gr. IIIT) at Meadowlands last October.
The winner paid $6.80, $3.80 and $2.80 as the top choice. The exacta (3-9) returned $62 and the $1 trifecta (3-9-1) was worth $150.40.