Mega Heat seeks his first stakes victory when he runs in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf.
The 6-year-old Unusual Heat gelding couldn’t be coming up to the race in better form, winning his last two starts at a mile on grass in come-from-behind style under Corey Nakatani.
Winner of 10 of 22 career starts, Mega Heat was seventh in the 2012 Kilroe but was sidelined 13 months after that race. “He had a relatively serious injury, not life-threatening, of course,” said trainer Peter Eurton.
“This is a step up but he’s won two in a row at a mile on grass and Corey really rides him well. He’s found a new dimension by not going up there and tackling the lead. He can be very versatile now.
“We got a good draw and I think it will come down to who gets the first jump, because if he’s up there close, he will fight.”
The Kilroe lineup: Hay Dude, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Winning Prize, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Holy Lute, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Mr. Commons, Martin Garcia, 20-1; Silentio, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Mega Heat, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; Summer Front, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; Home Run Kitten, Gary Stevens, 8-1; Ring Weekend, Drayden Van Dyke, 8-1; Za Approval, Mike Smith, 6-1; and Dimension, Joe Talamo, 20-1.
CONQUEST TWO STEP ‘GOOD AS EVER’ FOR SAN CARLOS
Conquest Two Step has made himself at home at Santa Anita, where the Florida-bred son of Two Step Salsa guns for his third win from five starts at The Great Race Place in Saturday’s Grade II, $250,000 San Carlos Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.
The 4-year-old colt was second by a neck to none other than once-beaten champion Shared Belief in the Grade I Malibu at seven furlongs on Dec. 26 before winning the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes at six furlongs on Jan. 31.
“He’s trained and looks as good as he ever has,” trainer Mark Casse said. “I think seven-eighths is his game. The distance is good for him. We’ve got to give everybody weight, but that’s what happens when you win.”
The lineup: Chitu, Martin Garcia, 2-1; Outside Nashville, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; Majestic City, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Conquest Two Step, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Kobe’s Back, Gary Stevens, 8-1; El Nino Terrible, Fernando Perez, 12-1; Wild Dude, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Midnight Hawk, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; and Blues Blaster, Juan Sanchez, 30-1.
FINISH LINES: Martin Pedroza, named on Cigar Mile winner Private Zone in Saturday’s one mile Gulfstream Park Handicap and Diamond Bachelor in the Big ’Cap at Santa Anita, rides 6-5 morning line favorite Private Zone for trainer Jorge Navarro in Florida. Another Martin--Garcia--rides Diamond Bachelor . . . Eclipse Award winner American Pharoah worked six furlongs from the gate in company in a bullet 1:10.40 under Martin Garcia for his 3-year-old debut in the Rebel Stakes March 14. Workmate Whiskey Ticket was timed in 1:11.80 . . . Two time Eclipse winner Beholder, with designs on the Madison at Keeneland April 4, worked five furlongs in company for Richard Mandella in 59 flat. “She couldn’t look better,” Mandella said of the daughter of Henny Hughes owned by B. Wayne Hughes . . . Jockey Brice Blanc, on the smashing debut of 3-year-old filly Spanish Queen, 5 ¾-length last-to-first winner of Thursday’s fifth race at one mile on turf for trainer Richard Baltas: “She acted up a little in the gate, first time out, and she kind of got left a bit. But she’s shown in the mornings that she’s very intelligent, although a little nervous, a little antsy. But in her works she came inside horses very nicely and had different gears. So I was pretty confident she was fit enough going a mile. Richard did a great job.” . . . Happy 52nd birthday today to Gary Stevens, who rode with the energy of a teenager winning two races Thursday. Birthday congrats too to Rosie Ybarra (63 on March 10) and Roni Walker (65 on March 21) who have been welcoming patrons at Santa Anita’s popular Clockers’ Corner eatery for 36 years . . . Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday. Turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.
Source: Santa Anita Stable Notes