10/29/2017 2:41PM

Horse with special name has special start to career

Shigeki Kikkawa
McKenzie wins his racing debut by 5 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A colt with a special name had a dynamic start to his career at Santa Anita on Saturday.

McKinzie, named in honor of the late Los Alamitos racing executive Brad McKinzie, won his debut in a seven-furlong maiden race by 5 1/2 lengths under jockey Mike Smith.

Brad McKinzie, who died in August, was close friends with Bob Baffert, the colt’s trainer, and owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman.
Smith gave McKinzie a confident ride, staying four-wide on the backstretch before moving toward the front with three furlongs remaining. McKinzie led by two lengths with a furlong to go and was timed in 1:22.70. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

“We knew he was that kind of horse,” Baffert said. “That was nice.”

Baffert did not mention any race goals for McKinzie, but chances are the colt will be a candidate for the Grade 1 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity on Dec. 9 if he continues to progress.