02/28/2013 2:30PM

Santa Anita: Kilroe Mile the perfect spot for Suggestive Boy


ARCADIA, Calif. – Ron McAnally has a spring in his step these days, and it’s not just because of the recent knee surgery that has him cutting to the basket like Stephen Curry now. The Hall of Fame trainer has long had a terrific pipeline for South American imports, and his latest, Suggestive Boy, seems poised to follow in the footsteps of Bayakoa, Candy Ride, and Paseana.

Suggestive Boy rolled to an emphatic victory over 12 rivals last month in the Arcadia Stakes and now looks for his first Grade 1 win in this country Saturday in the $300,000 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita. A four-time Group 1 winner in his native Argentina, Suggestive Boy tried dirt and synthetic surfaces last year, but a mile on turf seems to be right in his wheelhouse, what with his tactical speed and instant acceleration. The Kilroe, like the Arcadia, is at his preferred trip, on his preferred surface.

“He’s got a good turn of foot,” McAnally said Thursday morning while watching his horses train from Clocker’s Corner at Santa Anita. “He’s got good action, and he’s not hard on himself.”

In the Arcadia, Suggestive Boy broke from post 12 in the 13-horse field, but he was able to get a clean trip under Joe Talamo, who is back aboard Saturday. Suggestive Boy sat a few lengths off the lead, then rolled past his rivals in an instant at the top of the lane.

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“That’s his style. That’s the way he ran in South America,” McAnally said. “Joe was able to get him over last time, despite going out of the 12 hole. When we got to the first turn okay, I thought, ‘We’ve got a chance.’ ”

The Arcadia weeded out most of the dreamers. Eight are in the Kilroe, including Wilkinson and Silentio – who finished second and third behind Suggestive Boy in the Arcadia – and Mr. Commons, who was second in last year’s Kilroe. Mr. Commons makes his first start of the year Saturday, and with a new rider, Corey Nakatani.

Also in the race are Akkadian, fourth in the Arcadia; Fed Biz, making his first start on turf; Forest Mouse, sixth in the Arcadia; and Vagabond Shoes, ninth in the Arcadia in his U.S. debut.

Silentio appears to have quite a bit of upside. He is making only the sixth start of his career and has never finished out of the money.

“He’s still just a 4-year-old facing older,” trainer Gary Mandella said. “He’s getting there. He’s been working just as good, or better, than he ever has. And my hunch is he’s going to like a firmer turf, and he should get that Saturday.”

Fed Biz was third in the Strub in his last start. Rather than stretch out to 1 1/4 miles for the Santa Anita Handicap, he’s backing up to a mile, but trying turf.

“It’s more of an experiment,” said trainer Bob Baffert, who has Game On Dude and Guilt Trip in the Big Cap.

Akkadian “should have run second” in the Arcadia, according to his trainer, Julio Canani.

“There were a lot of horses in that race,” Canani said. Since then, “I mean, that horse is doing good, though,” he said.

Forest Mouse, who had finished first or second in 11 straight races in New Mexico and Arizona prior to the Arcadia, did not have the cleanest run in the Arcadia and could improve. He is reunited with jockey Ry Eikleberry, who won two straight on Forest Mouse the last times they combined.