03/01/2012 5:05PM

Santa Anita: Jeranimo looks for first run on Mr. Commons in Kilroe Mile

Shigeki Kikkawa
Jeranimo will be looking for his second upset victory over Mr. Commons in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – For the first time in his career, trainer Mike Pender will start two horses in two Grade 1 races Saturday at Santa Anita.

One horse is an anti-social, future stallion that charges the webbing when any filly walks past. Ultimate Eagle, game face on, is favored for the Santa Anita Handicap, race 11.

Thirty minutes earlier in race 10, Pender starts a fun-loving goof who also happens to be a leading contender in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile, race 10. Jeranimo may not be as brilliant as his stablemate, but he is a lot more fun to spend time with.

“Ultimate Eagle is all business, not very social, and just kind of does his own thing,” Pender said. “Jeranimo could care less. He just wants to have fun.”

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The playfully enthusiastic Jeranimo has become one of California’s top turf horses, and a Kilroe victory Saturday would push the 7-for-25 veteran past the $1 million mark for Pender and owner B.J. Wright. Not bad for a 6-year-old veteran.

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“If you watch the movie ‘War Horse,’ you’re looking at Jeranimo,” Pender said. “He would run through a fence with barbed wire, he would do anything to please you.”

It will please Pender, Wright, and jockey Martin Garcia if Jeranimo upsets Mr. Commons for a second time Saturday. They met once before at Santa Anita, in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile, in which Jeranimo defeated Mr. Commons by three-quarters of a length.

Mr. Commons, however, has improved since then, and he enters the Kilroe as the 4-5 favorite. Trained by John Shirreffs and ridden by Mike Smith, Mr. Commons seeks his third graded stakes of winter after the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort for 3-year-olds and Grade 2 Arcadia against older. Mr. Commons and Jeranimo are the principals in the $300,000 Kilroe, a mile turf race with eight entrants including front-runners Compari and Jimmy Simms, Make Music for Me, Willyconker, Massone, and Mega Heat.

Little has changed in the California turf-mile division since Mr. Commons and Jeranimo met four months ago in the Breeders’ Cup Mile; Mr. Commons finished fifth and Jeranimo seventh.

Reinforcements to the turf-mile division have not materialized. A foot issue sidelined Caracortado, who is expected to return April 21 in the Grade 3 San Simeon. The Usual Q. T. was pointed to the Kilroe, but also had “foot issues,” according to trainer Jim Cassidy, and did not enter.

That leaves Mr. Commons and Jeranimo as the favorites. And while Mr. Commons needs no alibi after successive wins, Jeranimo arrives following a disappointing runner-up finish as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 2 San Gabriel. Pender worried that, due to lack of pace, Jeranimo might be in trouble in that 1 1/8-mile race.

“We had an inclination that, if this horse were on the lead by himself, without a target, he might get a little headstrong,” Pender said.

That is exactly what happened. Jeranimo set slow fractions while unrelaxed and got run over.

“It takes away his turn of foot when he is out there pulling like that,” Pender said. “At a mile, they send, and he just drops back naturally. He has that turn of foot.”

Fortunately for Jeranimo, the Kilroe should unfold at a solid pace. Compari stretches to a mile after a good sprint win; comebacker Jimmy Simms generally runs on the lead.

Jeranimo will be positioned midpack and is likely to get first run over Mr. Commons, a lightly raced 4-year-old with 5 wins from 11 starts and earnings of $563,660.

Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1), Post Time: 5:08 PT Saturday

Purse: $300,000; 1 mile (T)





ML Odds


Mr. Commons

J. Shirreffs

M. Smith



Jimmy Simms

S. Asmussen

C. Nakatani



Willyconker (IRE)

D. O'Neill

J. Rosario




M. Jones

R. Bejarano




M. Pender

M. Garcia




T. Yakteen

A. Quinonez



Make Music For Me

A. Barba

C. Sutherland



Mega Heat

P. Eurton

J. Talamo