The 7-year-old Irish-bred Danehill ridgling, owned by the Sidney L. Port Trust and San Gabriel Investments, last raced Nov. 25, finishing eighth in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) at Tokyo racecourse.
The mile distance is short for Artiste Royal, who usually excels at 10 to 12 furlongs. The bay was assigned high weight of 118 pounds and is to be ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano.
Artiste Royal ran just three times last year, with the Hirsch his only victory, and has just 21 starts in his career, all on turf. He has a record of 5-6-4 overall and earnings of $471,257.
Out of Control returns from an absence since Oak Tree and appears better suited for the distance. T N T Stud's 5-year-old Brazilian-bred won the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) for trainer Bobby Frankel by a nose over Zann Oct. 7 but has not raced since. Out of Control also won Hollywood Park's American Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) by a head over The Tin Man last year. His lifetime record stands at 5-3-1 in 11 tries and winnings of $487,371.
Regular rider Michael Baze is aboard Out of Control, who carries 117.
Trainer Bill Mott, in town to run Peter Vegso's Go Between in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) later on, starts Vegso's homebred War Monger, winner of the Sunshine Millions Turf as the 19-10 favorite at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26. The 4-year-old War Chant colt has back-to-back stakes wins to his credit and seeks his first graded victory. The bay won his only start at a mile, taking an allowance race at Saratoga last summer by more than four lengths.
Kent Desormeaux returns to the Southland to take the mount on War Monger, who breaks from the inside post position under 116 pounds.
The Argentine-bred Storm Military comes off a front-running three-length triumph for Frankel in the one-mile Thunder Road Handicap at Santa Anita Feb. 2.
Ever a Friend won the Impressive Luck Handicap on the hillside turf course Dec. 31 in his first start after being claimed by trainer Mike Mitchell for $62,500.
Mr Napper Tandy, second to Storm Military in the Thunder Road, and potential pacesetter Willow O Wisp, third in the Turf Paradise Handicap two weeks ago, complete the line-up.
$300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IT, Race 8, 3:30 p.m.), 4 & Up (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. War Monger (FL), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
2. Mr Napper Tandy (GB), 114, Richard Migliore
3. Out of Control (BRZ), 117, Michael C. Baze
4. Artiste Royal (IRE), 118, Rafael Bejarano
5. Storm Military (ARG), 116, Garrett K. Gomez
6. Willow O Wisp (FL), 114, Victor Espinoza
7. Ever a Friend (KY), 113, Tyler Baze