Kona Gold, ridden by Alex Solis, coasts home to win the Grade I $150,000 San Carlos Handicap on Sunday, at Santa Anita Park.

Kona Gold, ridden by Alex Solis, coasts home to win the Grade I $150,000 San Carlos Handicap on Sunday, at Santa Anita Park.


Santa Anita Report (Cont.)

Next Start in June

"He looks pretty good this morning," he said the day after the Big 'Cap. "He looks better yesterday and today than he did two days ago. Now comes the tough part."

Along with Michael Cooper, who co-owns Tiznow with the family of the colt's late breeder, Cecilia Straub-Rubens, Robbins has mapped out a tentative schedule that will keep the 4-year-old son of Cee's Tizzy at home until the fall. Already circled are the other two main attractions on the local calendar, the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and Del Mar's Pacific Classic (gr. I). Hollywood's nine-furlong Californian Stakes (gr. II) on June 10 is next on the agenda, time enough to give Tiznow's feet a chance to recover.

There will be no down time, however, for Robbins. Keeping Tiznow grounded for the next few weeks will be the truest test of the man's resolve.

"He becomes so obstreperous doing nothing," the trainer said. "That's the odd thing about him. He can walk like a 10-year-old gelding the day after or after he's even galloped in the morning. It's just when he steps on the racetrack he becomes so tough. He's got a higher energy level than any horse I've ever seen. He never seems to get fatigued."

Crafty Rafael
"He showed me an unbelievable turn of foot," said trainer Howard Zucker. "To me, a horse that can have that stride and click off those twelves in a gallop is what you're always looking for. This horse had, in my eye, a huge stride on him and was quick to get into it. He's totally athletic."

No, Zucker was not talking about the Big 'Cap hero, though he happens to think the world of Tiznow. Yes, he was rubbing horses back east when Secretariat was all the rage, but he wasn't referring to him, either. On this particular morning, Zucker was reminiscing about one of his own. And after the dynamite performance put forth by Crafty C. T. in the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), he sure wasn't the only one heaping praise on the 3-year-old colt.

A son of Crafty Prospector named for his owner, C.T. Grether, Crafty C. T. has given Zucker a tingle from the moment he saw the colt breezing at Keeneland last spring. Three races into his career, the dapper chestnut has done nothing to douse any of the excitement.

After a pair of lights-out sprints, Crafty C. T. got his first look at two turns in the San Rafael. Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye sat cool on Crafty C. T. early before cutting him loose down the stretch. The others didn't know what hit them. Crafty C. T. was home by four with speed to spare, the mile run in 1:35.79. Palmeiro outran Early Flyer for second.

Though Crafty C. T. has talent to burn, he also has some growing up to do, according to his trainer. The Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 7 is up next, and at this point, Zucker and Grether have no designs whatsoever on where to go.

"We're not even thinking about going back east with him yet," Zucker said. "I'll travel when the time's right, and I'll go to the right places with him. A lot of these other horses have a lot more experience. Hopefully we can knock off a few of those on their way to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I)."

Weekend Highlights

Kona Gold made sure the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap was worth every bit of its new grade-I status with an easy two-length decision over Blade Prospector on March 4. Second to Big Jag in the '99 San Carlos and just edged by stablemate Son of a Pistol last year, the champion sprinter finally got the job done this time around. Under 125 pounds (including regular rider Solis), the 7-year-old son of Java Gold went seven furlongs in 1:21.35. He is owned by trainer Bruce Headley, Irwin and Andrew Molasky, and G. Michael Singh's High Tech Stable.

Thirteen days after his homebred Rare Charmer struck gold in the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT), Nick Cafarchia's Road to Slew cemented his reputation as one of the country's top turf milers on Big 'Cap day in the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IIT).

The 6-year-old Slewpy gelding, making his first start since late October, finished a length clear of a knot of horses comprised of Val Royal, Hawksley Hill, Exchange Rate, and Deploy Venture. Ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., Road to Slew hails from the barn of Craig Dollase.

(Chart, Equibase)