10/15/2016 8:51PM

Kaabraaj uses speed to capture Bienvenidos

Coady Photography
California shipper Kaabraaj, ridden by Eswan Flores, wins the Bienvenidos by 2 1/4 lengths.

PHOENIX  – Kaabraaj  had been facing tougher competition in Southern California and the drop and change of venue did the trick as the 4-year-old son of Abraaj won Saturday’s $30,000 Bienvenidos at Turf Paradise, the meet’s opening-day feature.

Owned by Warlock Stables and trained by Jeff Metz, Kaabraaj ($7) went right out to a clear lead under Eswan Flores in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint, opened up a commanding lead through a fast half-mile in 44.93 seconds, and while a couple rivals cut into his lead a bit he was never really in any danger the rest of the way, reporting home 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Absolutely Cool. Absolutely Cool, who won this race last year, rallied from fifth to be second, a nose ahead of 3-5 favorite Storm Power in the field of seven.

Kaabraaj ran the distance in 1:15.81. The winner’s share of $18,228 gives him earnings of $117,206 from 5 wins in 18 starts.

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