early, Kobe’s Back made an eye-catching move around the far turn and
went on to an emphatic 5 ¼ length win in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 San
Vicente Stakes, covering seven furlongs in 1:21.84 while repositioning
himself as one of Southern California’s top Derby prospects.
Photo: Benoit Photo
Ridden by Florida-based Joel Rosario and trained by John Sadler, Kobe’s
Back came off a nightmarish trip in which he nearly fell, in the Grade
I, 1 1/16 miles CashCall Futurity Dec. 14, but he enjoyed clear sailing
today as he blew by 8-5 second choice Cherubim a sixteenth of a mile
“I wanted Joel to ride him patiently, because everybody has kind of
counted us out of the route races, except us,” said Sadler. “I wanted
him off the pace a little bit and see if he’d finish up good so we could
get him going around two turns next time…We’ll look at maybe the Rebel
(Grade II, 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park March 15)…There are a lot of
3-year-old races, but we wanted to get a good one at home in good
weather first, then we’re going to look at a race with (Kentucky Derby)
points for him in the next one.”
The actual favorite at 8-5, Kobe’s Back, a Kentucky-bred colt by the
A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.40.
Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s CRK Stable, “Kobe,” who broke from the
outside post position six, picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing
his earnings to $120,250. He now has two wins and a second from four
“We go to all the Laker games,” said Lee Searing, when asked about the
naming of his colt. “I have gone 17 years to watch Kobe play and in my
opinion, he’s the greatest basketball player I’ve ever watched…I kept
telling everyone Kobe (Bryant) is coming back (from an Achilles injury)
so when it came time to name the horse…I thought we had to do it.”
Ridden by Mike Smith, Cherubim, highly regarded on the strength of 3 ¼
length maiden win going six furlongs on Dec. 28, showed good speed from
post five and was three-deep outside of Papa Turf and Grazen’s Hope into
and around the turn and although he kicked clear leaving the quarter
pole, he was no match for the winner when it counted.
“I was just cruising early, nice and happy,” said Smith. “We just got outrun. He was second-best today.”
Trained by Simon Callaghan, Cherubim finished a length in front of Rprettyboyfloyd and paid $3.00 and $2.60.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Rprettyboyfloyd, the lone maiden in the
field at 6-1, was next-to-last early and tagged Papa Turf by a half
length late for third money and paid $3.00 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.73, 45.00 and 1:09.25.