05/06/2016 7:12PM

Home Run Kitten scores upset in American Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Home Run Kitten, with Joe Talamo aboard, wins the American Stakes by half a length on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A soggy day at Santa Anita on Friday was no detriment to Home Run Kitten, the upset winner of the $100,345 American Stakes.

The American Stakes was scheduled for turf but was switched to the main track approximately 40 minutes before post because of persistent rain throughout the afternoon. Home Run Kitten ($30.40) made his second career start on the main track Friday and took to the sealed and wet-fast track, winning by a half-length over 10-1 Little Curlin.

Twentytwentyvision, the 6-5 favorite, finished third in the field of six.

Trainer David Hofmans said the late change in surface was not an issue for Home Run Kitten, who races for Susan Osborne’s Tarabilla Farms. Hofmans said jockey Joe Talamo has long suggested that Home Run Kitten could handle the main track.

“Joe said, ‘You’ve got to run him on the dirt,’ ” Hofmans said. “I don’t pay attention.

“He’s on his game. He’s been training like a mad dog.”

The second-longest shot in the field, Home Run Kitten was fifth on the backstretch, five or six lengths behind pacesetter Si Sage, who set early fractions of 23.08 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.20 for the first half-mile.

Home Run Kitten moved into contention with a wide rally on the turn and caught stretch leader Little Curlin in the final sixteenth. Little Curlin finished a half-length in front of Twentytwentyvision, who was followed by Si Sage, Southern Freedom, and Ohio.

Home Run Kitten was timed in 1:35.30.

Cape Wolfe, Patentar, and Producer were scratched after the surface change was announced.

Home Run Kitten, a 5-year-old horse by Kitten’s Joy, has won 5 of 18 starts and earned $402,645. The win in the American Stakes ended an eight-race losing streak since a victory in the Grade 3 Eddie D Stakes on the hillside turf course in September 2014.

Home Run Kitten subsequently finished 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint here in 2014 and third in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile in March 2015. The American Stakes was Home Run Kitten’s first start since a disappointing seventh in the minor Joe Hernandez Stakes on the hillside turf course Feb. 28.

In his only previous start on the main track, Home Run Kitten finished fifth behind Candy Boy in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes in February 2014.

Hofmans suggested that Home Run Kitten could start in the $400,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf June 4.

“We’ll look at that – and hope it rains,” he said.