Keeneland Race Report (Cont.)

Xtra Bargain
All she has done up to this point is win--and on April 22, she did it again. Xtra Heat, a $5,000 extra bargain from the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, took the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies in what rider Rick Wilson described as an "easy win." Those were strong words considering the field included Raging Fever, a finalist for the Eclipse Award last year, and the previously unbeaten Sweet Nanette.

The 2 3/4-length score marked her 11th stakes win and 12th win overall from 13 starts. She's won stakes over seven different racetracks. Her lone blemish was a 10th-place performance in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) in her only try around two turns or a distance at a mile or over.

Maryland-based trainer John Salzman, who purchased the filly and then sold a minority interest to Kenneth Taylor, enjoyed the win, but still notes the filly is for sale. "The price keeps going up," he said, "but she's still for sale, at the right price." Xtra Heat was offered for sale online by the Equine Spectrum and failed to meet her reserve when the bidding closed at $1.06 million.

In the Beaumont, she broke on top and never looked back, getting the seven furlongs, 184 feet in 1:27.86. "She gets away from the gate so fast," Wilson said. "She's not that big, but she's just all heart. She runs so easy--this might have been one of her easier races."

Salzman believes she can get two-turns, but isn't that interested in trying anytime soon. There is a tie-in bonus from the Beaumont to the seven-furlong Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in August. "That's $50,000 to the trainer and $150,000 to the owner," Salzman said.

A Nak For Turf
Nakatani confidently mentions the Keeneland meet is going "better than expected." The California mainstay pulled up his stakes and headed to Kentucky this spring and, after a sluggish start, has vaulted to a tie atop the leader board. One of his keys has been his high win percentage on turf. Case in point, a masterful ride aboard the Christophe Clement-trained Kalu in the $109,400 LG&E Energy Forerunner Stakes on April 20.

"I was just biding my time, being as patient as I could on him," Nakatani said after letting the favored Woody Haze take the advantage on the turn in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. "Turning for home, I asked him to run, and he gave me everything I asked." What he got was a 1 3/4-length win over the closing Cee Dee in 1:48.73.

Kalu, saddled by Clement's assistant Christophe Lorieul, was bred in Florida by Bonnie and Kim Heath's Bonnie Heath Farm and is owned by the Heaths and Robert Schaedle III. Now two for three on grass, Kalu will be pointed to Arlington Park's rich grass stakes this summer.