11/12/2016 6:38PM

Kaabraaj breezes to easy Luke Kruytbosch victory

Coady Photography
Kaabraaj, with Eswan Flores aboard, takes a 6 1/4-length victory in the Luke Kruytbosch.

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Kaabraaj has affirmed his status as the top sprinter at Turf Paradise. After winning the meet-opening Bienvenidos on Oct. 15, the 4-year-old son of Abraaj easily won Saturday’s $30,000 Luke Kruytbosch at the Phoenix track.

Owned by Warlock Stables and Horseplayers Racing Club #240, and trained by Jeff Metz, Kaabraaj ($4.20) pressured the early pace of Rockin Home and Big Finish early under Eswan Flores in the 6-furlong event. The even-money favorite took command just outside Rockin Home on the turn as Big Finish fell away. Kaabraaj found the open lane to win easily by 6 1/4 lengths.

Rockin Home, the longest-priced horse in the race at 22-1, stayed on for second, well clear of 8-5 second-choice Storm Power, who rallied from last to get third in the field of six.

Kaabraaj ran the distance in 1:08.58. The winner’s share of $18,414 pushes his career earnings to $135,620 from six wins in 19 starts. This also stamps him the early favorite for the meet’s marquee event, the Phoenix Gold Cup on Feb. 11.

City of Phoenix Stakes

Constellation was the overwhelming 3-10 favorite on paper in Saturday’s $30,000 City of Phoenix Stakes, and that’s the way it played out as the invading daughter of Bellamy Road had no trouble defeating her 3-year-old filly rivals.

Owned by LNJ Foxwoods and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Constellation ($2.60) was Grade 1-2-placed last year at 2. She hadn’t run since finishing fourth in a stakes at Aqueduct on March 26, but the layoff didn’t matter. She stalked in third under David Flores as B C Z Middleton and Colinda Dawn dueled early in the 6-furlong event for 3-year-old fillies.

She moved up to challenge B C Z Middleton on the far turn, got the better of that foe into the lane and drew off to win easily by 5 1/4 lengths while geared down. B C Z Middleton stayed on gamely for second while Queen Kate rallied for third in the field of six.

Constellation ran the distance in 1:09.52. The winner’s share of $18,414 gives her earnings of $299,464 from four wins in seven starts.