Caracortado, whose last-to-first victory in the Daytona Stakes was
beyond Zenyetta-esque, creating a buzz in racing that is still audible,
will attempt to repeat that effort in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensational
Star Stakes for California-breds at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside
turf, the same venue on which Caracortado unleashed his incredible run
in the Daytona on Jan. 8.
The Sensational Star is one of five stakes on a 10-race Saturday
program that includes the Grade I Santa Monica Stakes for 4-year-olds
and up, fillies and mares, at seven furlongs. The $300,000 guaranteed
Santa Monica is the ninth race on a festive Sunshine Millions Day card
that starts at 12 noon.
Also on the card are the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for older
California-breds at 1 1/16 miles; the $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes
for older California-bred fillies and mares at one mile on the turf; and
the Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16
But the marquee horse is Caracortado, a 5-year-old
California-bred gelding who broke his maiden in a $40,000 claiming race
at Fairplex Park and has gone on to be a graded stakes winner with
earnings of $864,105.
“I don’t think the Daytona was a one of a kind race,” said
breeder, part owner and trainer Mike Machowsky on a summer-like Thursday
morning at Clockers’ Corner. “Caracortado has always had that turn of
foot. He’s just needed the opportunity to show it. He’s always had that
explosive turn of foot. The first time we ran him on the grass (in an
allowance race at six furlongs on Hollywood Park’s turf course in
November of 2010), he came from the one hole, circled the field and won
If all goes well in the Sensational Star, the Grade I, $300,000
Kilroe Mile on turf would be next on March 3, with long-range plans
calling for a Breeders’ Cup engagement at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 or 3.
The field for the Sensational Star: Luckarack, Hector Berrios,
15-1; Ain’t No Other, Martin Garcia, 6-1; Tamarack Smarty, David Flores,
20-1; Compari, Mike Smith, 5-2; Caracortado, Rafael Bejarano, 4-5; My
Summer Slew, Alonso Quinonez, 20-1; Mega Heat, Joe Talamo, 12-1; and Red
Defense, Joel Rosario, 8-1.