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Breeders' Cup 2017

Caracortado Ready to Rumble in Sensational Star

Caracortado, who recently staged one of the most stunning stretch runs in track history, and swiftly developing Grade I winner Teddy’s Promise will be in action Saturday when Santa Anita presents its10-race Sunshine Millions Day that includes five stakes races and starts at 12 noon.


But the horse that had pulses stirring like none other so far this Santa Anita meet is 5-year-old California-bred Caracortado, whose torrid closing rush in the Grade III Daytona Stakes on Jan. 8 even confounded such a keen race observer as iconic track announcer Trevor Denman.


Racing for the first time over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course, Caracortado stormed home to a 1 ¼ length victory moments after Denman had remarked, “Caracortado did not fire today.”


The exciting chestnut gelding has been installed as the 4-5 favorite to gain his sixth stakes win among eight entrants in the $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes while making his second start at 6 ½ furlongs over the unique downhill turf layout.


The Sensational Star joins the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes at 1 1/16 miles and the $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes for fillies and mares at one mile on turf as the races for California-bred or sired horses that comprise Santa Anita’s portion of the bicoastal Sunshine Millions event.


In conjunction with Sunshine Millions stakes races at Gulfstream Park, the two tracks will co-host the $250,000 guaranteed “Luck” Pick Six, a $1 wager with a mandatory payout that will encompass the three events for Cal-breds at Santa Anita along with three of Gulfstream’s six stakes for Florida breds.


In succession, the fast-paced “Luck” Pix Six is due to be concluded with 1 ½ hours while juxtaposing California-bred and Florida-bred stakes. It is due to begin with Gulfstream’s eighth race, the $150,000 Filly & Mare Turf at 1:10 p.m., Pacific Time. Caracortado and the Sensational Star will be up next as Santa Anita’s fourth race at 1:34 p.m. Following in order will be Gulfstream’s $150,000 Turf, 1:50 p.m.; Santa Anita’s Crystal Water, 2:05 p.m.; Gulfstream’s $400,000 Classic, 2:25 p.m., and Santa Anita’s Valentine Dancer at 2:37 p.m.


The main danger to Caracortado in the Sensational Star appears to be 5-2 second choice Compari, a 6-year-old gelding who has won 5 of 6 over Santa Anita’s turf course including the 2010 Sensational Star. Owned and bred by Harris Farms, John Nicoletti and Donald Valpredo, the son of Redattore does his best running on the front end. Compari has banked $510,430 from a 7-1-1 record in 13 starts. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will attempt to pose an elusive target for Caracortado. 


Bejarano, who rode Compari in his last two starts, will be back aboard Caracortado, who trailed by 15 lengths midway through the Daytona. Denman wasn’t the only one who saw little hope for the son of Cat Dreams at that juncture. Trainer and co-owner Mike Machowsky was headed for a libation.


“When the horses hit the quarter pole, I started walking to the bar,” said Machowsky. “I knew he would fly home, but I couldn’t believe the way he was finishing. I couldn’t believe how fast he went the last quarter-of-a-mile. He’s just got that turn of foot that’s really unbelievable.”


Co-owned by Don Blahut and a winner of $864,105 from nine wins in 19 starts, Caracortado will break from post position No. 5, one outside of Compari, while carrying high weight of 123 pounds on Saturday.


The complete field for the Sensational Star, with jockeys, weights and morning line odds in post position order: Luckarack, Hector Berrios, 116, 15-1; Ain’t No Other, Garcia, 120, 6-1; Tamarack Smarty, Flores, 116, 20-1; Compari, Smith, 120, 5-2; Caracortado, Bejarano, 123, 4-5; My Summer Slew, Alonso Quinonez, 116, 20-1; Mega Heat, Talamo, 116, 12-1, and Red Defense, Rosario, 118, 8-1.



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