Kicken Kris Heading to Hollywood Derby

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Kicken Kris, one of the leading 3-year-olds in the nation on turf, will be flown to California next week for the $600,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) on Nov. 30, trainer Michael Matz confirmed Thursday from his base at Fair Hill, Md.

Regular rider Javier Castellano retains the call in the 1 1/4-mile grass test that is a highlight of the three-day Turf Festival.

Kicken Kris, by Kris S. out of the Jade Hunter mare Kicken Grass, has been kicking the daylights out of his competition since being transferred to turf earlier this year. He has recorded four firsts and three seconds in eight outings on grass.

Kicken Kris won the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park in August and captured the Lawrence Realization Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park in his most recent start Oct. 11. He is owned by Brushwood Stable, nom de course for Elizabeth Moran of Malverne, Pa.

Matz, a former Olympic equestrian rider, will be making his first appearance in California with a Thoroughbred. "The furthest west I've been is Arlington, although I did ship a horse to Prairie Meadows (Iowa) with an assistant," said Matz.

Matz said that Kicken Kris will be accompanied by assistant Pam Ritter, and that he will travel to California next Friday.

"I used to show horses for 30 years but retired after the Sydney Olympics," said Matz, who began training six years ago. He was part of the United States silver-medal winning equestrian team in the 1996 Olympics at Atlanta and also participated in 1976 and 1992.

"Kicken Kris is my first grade I winner," said Matz, who trains between 40 and 50 horses at Fair Hill and Delaware Park and ships to a host of tracks in the Middle Atlantic states. "Kicken Kris is doing fine. He worked last weekend and will work again this weekend before shipping."

A field of 13 is shaping up: Alberto Giacometti (Jose Valdivia, Jr.), Californian (Kent Desormeaux), Darinski (David Flores), Fairly Ransom (Alex Solis), Kicken Kris (Castellano), Senor Swinger (Jerry Bailey), Stanley Park (Eric Saint-Martin), Sweet Return (Julie Krone), Urban King (Patrick Valenzuela), Buckland Manor (Corey Nakatani), Gassan Royal (Victor Espinoza), Blue Blood Boot and French invader Sign of the Wolf.

Alberto Giacometti, Californian and Sweet Return all worked on the turf Thursday.

Alberto Giacometti, a French import in the Laura de Seroux stable, worked seven furlongs in 1:28 4/5 under Valdivia. Californian drilled the same distance in 1:31 under Desormeaux for trainer Kristin Mulhall. Krone worked Sweet Return seven panels in 1:32 2/5 for conditioner Ron McAnally.