Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Kona Gold Stakes in on tap for Santa Anita in Arcadia, California this Saturday, April 11. Horses four years old and upward will take part in this 6.5 furlong dash as they chase the winner's share of the $200,000 purse on Santa Anita's dirt track.
A solid field of seven older entries will give it a go in the Kona Gold - race 5 on Santa Anita's Saturday card. Post time is 2:30 PM. Let's take a look into the past performances of all seven combatants for this Grade 2 sprint.
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2015 Kona Gold Stakes Race Favorite Entries
Masochistic - speedy Ron Ellis trained gelding has place in five of six career starts and has excelled at 6 1/2 furlong - four wins and a second place finish - the only off-the-board finish coming in his debut. He enters off a 2 1/4 length Allowance Optional Claiming score here with a field-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure February 28, a second in the minor Los Alamitos Mile way back in September and two Allowance scores at Del Mar last summer - both in gate-to-wire fashion. Masochistic is used to being at or near the top and is expected to be again Saturday from gate 6 with Tyler Baze guiding him for the first time.
Sahara Sky - four time graded stakes winning Jerry Hollendorfer trained Sahara Sky raced in graded stakes company for the first time in January, 2013 and recorded an impressive win - the 2013 Palos Verdes by one length January 19 at 21-1 odds. He also had a win in the 2013 San Carlos February 23, a second place finish in the 2013 Carter Handicap and a win in the 2013 Grade 1 Met Handicap with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure at Belmont Park. Sahara Sky returned to the winner's circle in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at Santa Anita last March 8 - after six months away. He hasn't quite been the same since however. He enters off a sixth as favorite in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap way back in June, an ugly seventh as 5-2 favorite in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes last May 3 and OK second in the 2014 Grade 1 Carter Handicap. Sahara Sky makes his first start in 10 months hoping to rediscover his 2013 form on a track that he's posted five wins and two seconds in nine starts. Leading Santa Anita jockey Rafael Bejarano has the mount for the first time on Sahara Sky from post 4.
Kona Gold Stakes 2015 | Remaining Contenders
Spirit Rules - has 17 career starts for trainer Paul Aguirre with five wins, two seconds and five third place finishes. He races in graded stakes company for the first time having posted a win and three-third place finishes in his last four starts - all minor stakes action. Last time out was a third in the Sensational Star Stakes on this track after a win in the Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint here and consecutive thirds to end his 2014 campaign. Spirit Rules has looked decent the last seven months and hopes his success in listed stakes company translates to graded stakes action. Ignacio Puglisi gets the call from the rail.
San Onofre - has six career starts for trainer with four wins and two second place finishes and races in graded stakes company for the first time Saturday. Last time out was a respectable second behind Spirit Rules in his stakes debut - the minor Donald Valpredo California Cup here January 24. It followed four straight wins on California tracks this past winter. San Onofre has been tremendous so far in his career and could be a factor from post 5 with Alex Solis in the irons.
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Caminetto - has placed in four of five career starts for trainer Bob Baffert - two wins, a second and a third place finish. He enters off his only off-the-board finish however - a ninth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Del Mar way back in July after consecutive Allowance Optional Claiming scores. Caminetto makes his stakes debut in his return from the track after nearly nine months away. He's been working well ahead of this race and departs from gate 2 with Martin Garcia guiding him.
Ankeny Hill - has 19 career starts for trainer Mark Glatt with five wins, two seconds and three third place finishes - his last two wins were the minor Pirate's Bounty Stakes in September and Allowance Optional Claiming in August - both at Del Mar. He has two career graded stakes tries - a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship in October and a fifth in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes also on this track December 38. Ankeny Hill has placed in just one of his last four starts - that being a third last time out in the minor Santana Mile here March 29. He enters in so-so form and leaves from the outside post 7 with Edwin Maldonado guiding him.
Seeking the Sherif - has eight wins, two seconds and two thirds in 15 career starts for trainer Gus Headley and enters off a second in the minor Joe Hernandez Stakes February 22 and an Allowance Optional Claiming score February 1 - both results on this track. Before that was a fifth in the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes December 27 and an eleventh on the biggest stage - the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He also had a win in the minor Katella Stakes at Los Alamitos September 20, consecutive thirds - the minor Pirate's Bounty Stakes September 3 and the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes July 27 and a four race win streak - all Allowance races. Kayla Stra gets the call from post 3 Saturday.