Favored Kettle Corn earned his first victory of 2012
Thursday, outfinishing Akkadian to win the $57,008 opening day feature of
Betfair Hollywood Park’s Autumn meet.
Exiting a fourth place finish in the Grade II Arroyo Seco
Mile last month at Santa Anita, the 5-year-old son of Candy Ride saved ground
while reserved off the moderate pace set by Oligarch, angled out for room in
midstretch and prevailed by a neck as the even-money favorite.
The victory was the first for Kettle Corn, who was ridden by
Garrett Gomez, since he captured the Grade III Native Diver Handicap at 8-1
last Dec. 3. The bay was 0-for-6 this year prior to Thursday for owner Lee and
Susan Searing’s C R K Stable and trainer John Sadler. The win was the 1,999th
for Sadler in North America.
Winning for the first time on turf in his third race over
the surface, Kettle Corn completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.75. His seventh
career win in 19 starts was worth $33,600, pushing his bankroll to $364,111.
Kettle Corn, who finished third behind Game On Dude and
Richard’s Kid in the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup in July, paid $4, $2.60 and
A six time winner in 2011, Kettle Corn is expected to
attempt to defend his title in the Native Diver, which will be run for the 34th
time Dec. 1. No horse has won the race twice.
Akkadian, who finished a half-length in front of Oligarch,
returned $3 and $2.40. The show price on Oligarch was $2.20. Thirtyfirststreet,
who was a neck behind Oligarch, and 20-1 outsider Quindici Man completed the
order of finish.
Eight different riders won opening day. Besides Gomez, the
other winners were Juan Hernandez, Aaron Gryder, Agapito Delgadillo, Rafael
Bejarano, Edwin Maldonado, Joe Talamo and Tyler Baze.