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
“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
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
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
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.