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Krigger, O'Neill, and a Pick 6 Carryover at SA

Overlayed at 7-1, The Only Key and Kevin Krigger took command at the top of the stretch and powered to a 3 ¼ length victory in Santa Anita’s $58,000 allowance feature on Friday, covering 1 ¼ miles on turf in 1:59.45 while providing Krigger with a natural Hat Trick and trainer Dean Greenman a potential starter in the Grade II San Juan Capistrano Handicap on closing day, April 21.

“I was really confident with her all the way around there,” said the upstart Krigger, who will ride Goldencents in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby. “I wanted to stay inside and she was very comfortable there. We found a little gap when we turned for home and she just took off.

“To win three in-a-row coming into the Derby tomorrow is a great feeling. It couldn’t come at a better time.”

A 7-year-old English-bred mare, The Only Key was 9-2 on the morning line, but got off as a significant overlay and paid $16.80, $6.80 and $4.20.

“It was a great trip,” said Greenman. “Kevin really got to know her last time out (a second place finish over the course at the same distance on Feb. 15), so he knew what he had and rode a perfect race. This is a nice mare. We’re going to try the San Juan Capistrano (versus older horses at 1 ¾ miles on turf).”

Owned by former Santa Anita President Ron Charles, The Only Key, who settled nicely in third position well off a fast early pace, picked up $34,800 for her efforts, padding her bankroll to $97,443. The Only Key made her U.S. debut on June 10 at Golden Gate Fields and was making her sixth stateside start Friday. Her overall record stands at 22-5-2-4.

“Perfect trip,” said Charles. When asked if he wanted to wheel back against the boys in the San Juan Capistrano, Charles responded: “My trainer does. I don’t know if I do! He usually rules though.”

Nobilis, a highly regarded 4-year-old English-bred filly making her U.S. debut, was off as the 8-5 favorite in the field of eight and had dead aim on the winner with three sixteenths of a mile to run but was second-best under Gary Stevens, finishing one length in front of Irish-bred Roxelana.

Nobilis paid $3.60 and $3.40.

Roxelana, ridden by Joe Talamo, lagged next to last, far off the early pace and finished well to be third at 5-1. She paid $3.40 to show.

Krigger went on to register his fourth win in a row in the following race, the sixth, aboard the Doug O’Neill-trained A Thousand Aces. It was O’Neill’s fourth win on the day and his third in combination with Krigger.

Krigger and O’Neill will team again in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby with multiple graded stakes winner Goldencents, who is 9-2 on the morning line.

In addition to the Derby, Santa Anita will also offer the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes and the Grade III Providencia Stakes as part of an 11-race card.

There will be special early first post time on Saturday of 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.



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