02/19/2012 11:23AM

Los Alamitos: Kobe barely hits wire first in Winter Derby


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif.- Kobe, a colt who missed most of his 2-year-old season because of a tibia injury, won Saturday’s $200,000 Los Alamitos Winter Derby for his first major stakes win.

Sent off as the second choice, Kobe ($10.60) was bumped twice in the first 100 yards of the 400-yard race but ran a determined race under jockey Cody Jensen to win by a nose over Deniro, the even-money favorite.

Trained by Paul Jones for breeders Mark and Mary Parsons, Kobe ran 400 yards in 19.96 seconds. Check My Thoughts ran third in the field of 10. The entire field was separated by a little less than two lengths.

Breaking from post 9, Kobe was bumped by Deniro, to his outside, and One Ramblin Lady, to his inside, early in the race. Kobe trailed Deniro by a head with about 100 yards to go, but closed well late. The official margin between the first two was a nose, but the difference was much less than that.

Kobe qualified for the Kindergarten Futurity last May, but missed the race because of a tibia injury. By the Dash for Cash stallion Mr Eye Opener, Koe has won 4 of 6 starts and $111,502. He won the Holiday Handicap for 3-year-olds over 350 yards on Jan. 1, his first stakes win.