10/08/2008 11:00PM

Delightful Kiss displays sharp synthetic form


Pete Anderson's most significant win as a jockey came at 1 1/2 miles when Cavan foiled Tim Tam's bid for the Triple Crown in the 1958 Belmont Stakes. His most important win as a trainer could come at the same distance, when he sends out the lone horse in his stable, Delightful Kiss, in the inaugural $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon.

"He reminds me of the horse I won the Belmont with," Anderson said. "Their running styles are absolutely the same. Cavan would drop back and come flying."

Delightful Kiss closed fast to win both the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and the $250,000 Iowa Derby in 2007. This year, he will enter the Breeders' Cup off back-to-back stakes wins on synthetic surfaces - a plus, since the Marathon will be held on the new Pro-Ride main track at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Delightful Kiss earned a spot in the starting gate for the race with his 1o1/4-length win in the Grade 3 Turfway Park Fall Championship at 1o1/2 miles on Polytrack on Sept. 6. He then ventured to Golden Gate and its Tapeta surface and stormed from 10 lengths back to capture the Gradeo3 All American on Sept. 27.

"It just worked out perfect, coming from the artificial track at Turfway Park to this track," Anderson said of the synthetic surface at Golden Gate. "It appears as though he likes it, and I'm hoping he has the same inkling for it at Santa Anita."

Anderson is based at Calder in Miami, but has made a deliberate decision to keep Delightful Kiss training at Golden Gate up to the Marathon.

"I didn't want to go back to the dirt," he said. "I don't want to go back and forth at the present time, until after the Breeders' Cup. We were originally going for the Hawthorne Gold Cup, but we shipped out here in plenty of time, and it's worked. He likes the racetrack here, and the weather is also perfect for him. He does not like hot weather. It's cool in the morning, and he loves that kind of temperature."

Anderson said the Northern California trip has also been a chance for him to spend some time with his daughter, Aggie Ordonez, a trainer who won a race on the All American undercard. She has a stable at Golden Gate.

"I'm on a cloud, definitely," said Anderson, a 76-year-old native of Long Island, N.Y.

Anderson began training in 1975 after a noted riding career in which he competed regularly against such greats as Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack. Among his mounts were Forego, whom he rode for the first nine races of the Hall of Fame horse's career in 1973.

Anderson has trained for Tartan Farms, Dogwood, and John Brunetti. Over the last several years he has had horses for the Hobeau Farm operation of Jack Dreyfus, who was the leading owner in North America in 1967, and whose horse Onion upset Secretariat in the 1973 Whitney. Allen Jerkens is the longtime principal trainer for Hobeau, and coordinated sending the homebred Delightful Kiss to Anderson.

"He was a 2-year-old when I got him," Anderson said of Delightful Kiss, who now stands 16.2 hands tall and weighs about 1,250 pounds. "I liked his attitude. He would go anywhere you wanted him to go - to the training track, to the main track. His enthusiasm is what got me.

"And the way he trained, I told my daughter that he gave me the impression that he'd run all day."

Calvin Borel, who first teamed with Delightful Kiss in the Turfway Championship, a Win and You're In race for the Marathon, has the mount in the Breeders' Cup. Anderson said Delightful Kiss would have his final work for the race at Golden Gate, on either Oct. 19 or Oct.o20, then ship to Santa Anita for the Marathon.

"This would be the highlight of my life, of my training career," said Anderson.

Several Europeans could jump in

Sixties Icon, who has won three consecutive Group 3 races in England, is under consideration for the Marathon, said his trainer, Jeremy Noseda. He said a decision on the race would be made over the next week, with part of the equation being the moves made by other runners from Europe. Sixties Icon is also being considered for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Winchester, the winner of the Grade 1 Secretariat, is under consideration for the Turf as well as the Marathon, according to officials with the International Racing Bureau. Muhannak, a stakes winner at 1 1/2 miles on the synthetic surface at Kempton in Britain, is expected for the Marathon for trainer Ralph Beckett.