“Every horse I’ve ever had, I’ve tried to make them a pet,” said Delightful Kiss’ trainer, Peter Anderson. “I give them carrots and sugar, and through the years, I’ve always been able to get along with them. But this horse doesn’t get along with anybody except his groom, Rene Lopez. He is very mean; he’s just an ornery rascal. He will bit and kick you in a New York minute. If you walk by his stall when he’s got his hay rack up, he’ll try to run out at you and grab you. When the exercise boys get on him, he tries to kick them.”
Fortunately, Delightful Kiss is well-behaved when competing.
“He’s all business on the racetrack,” said Anderson, a former jockey.
A Hobeau Farm homebred, Delightful Kiss is coming into the Marathon at Santa Anita Park off of a one-length victory over Awesome Gem in the Sept. 27 All American Stakes (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields. The winning time of 1:49.54 for the 1 1/8 miles established a track record. Delightful Kiss also captured the Sept. 6 Turfway Park Fall Championship Stakes (gr. III) at the Marathon distance of 1 1/2 miles, setting a track record of 2:32.25 and defeating Star Plus by 1 ¼ lengths. Both of those wins were scored over synthetic surfaces (Tapeta Footings at Golden Gate and Polytrack at Turfway). Santa Anita has a new synthetic Pro-Ride track.
Calvin Borel rode Delightful Kiss in the All American and the Turfway Park Fall Championship, and the jockey will back on board the 4-year-old Kissin Kris gelding again for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Anderson credits his daughter, trainer Aggie Ordonez, for coming up with the idea to hire Borel.
“She said, ‘Dad, you were one of the best come from behind riders in racing, and I can’t understand why you haven’t chose Calvin Borel to ride this horse,” Anderson recalled. “Ten minutes later, I not only had called Calvin’s agent, I had also gotten him (Borel) to ride in both of those races. He’s a thorough horseman, a quick thinker, and a good judge of a racing situation.”
Delightful Kiss likes to come from off the pace, and it will be up to Borel, according to Anderson, when the gelding makes his big move in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
“The front-runners dictate the race, and when I give Borel a leg up, it’s all in his hands,” Anderson said. “I have nothing else to do with it. That’s the stressful part because I’m used to being in charge. But he (Delightful Kiss) has a fabulous turn of foot and it can overcome a lot of disadvantages.”
Delightful Kiss has won six of his 20 career races and has earned $708,887. Last year, he scored in the Ohio (gr. II) and Iowa Derbys.