03/13/2012 2:19PM

Santa Anita: Kingpin Ryno must ration speed Thursday over mile of turf


ARCADIA, Calif. – Kingpin Ryno would stand out Thursday in the race 7 feature at Santa Anita, if only the California-bred allowance turf race was shorter than one mile.

“He’s pretty aggressive, he might be a better sprinter,” owner-trainer-breeder Joshua Litt conceded. “He can get the [mile] distance; I just think he might be better shorter.”

Kingpin Ryno takes after his dam, Live Free Or Die, an allowance speedster that won 5 of 20 before becoming a successful broodmare. Her foals include Lucky Primo, the 2008 Cal Cup Juvenile winner; Broadway Nika, a 3-year-old maiden expected to return to action later this summer; and Kingpin Ryno.

“Her offspring seem to want to show a lot of speed,” Litt said. “She was a sprinter, and she was fast.”

So is Kingpin Ryno, who set a strong pace (46.36 seconds and 1:09.81) and finished second last out under identical conditions. It will be up to jockey Victor Espinoza to ration his speed over a course that plays fair to all styles – 13 of 54 turf races at a mile have been won by the pacesetter, 15 were won by a presser within three lengths of the lead at the first pace call, and 26 were won from more than three lengths back.

Nine starts into his career, Kingpin Ryno has one win and five seconds. If the distance is out of reach Thursday, the $58,000 allowance is open. Valley Cat finished third behind Kingpin Ryno last time and might be the best closer; Husband’s Folly stretches out but landed post 11; Woodman’s Luck, Minister d’Oro, and Bud I Crushed It have chances.

Litt, who has nine horses in his care, is 3 for 5 at the meet, with two wins by Sean S and one by Kingpin Ryno. While the trainer admits one mile is a long way for Kingpin Ryno, Litt also recognizes the best money for California-breds is running long.

For the race Thursday, Litt said Kingpin Ryno “is doing great, and it is just Cal-breds.”

Kingpin Ryno was made favored at 3-1 by track linemaker Jon White. Meanwhile, the shortest price and most probable winner on the card entered the preceding race.

Chimi Dee is the 4-5 favorite in race 6, a $30,000 maiden-claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies. Chimi Dee finished second in her debut, more than six lengths clear of third, while earning a 57 Beyer Speed Figure that towers over her rivals Thursday.

Chimi Dee is trained by Victor Garcia, 11th in the standings with an 8-for-25 record.