02/16/2014 7:37PM

Santa Anita: Kobe’s Back impresses in San Vicente Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Kobe's Back, ridden by Joel Rosario, wins the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths Sunday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The hits just keep on coming for trainer John Sadler. Eight days after winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes with Candy Boy, Sadler won another important 3-year-old stakes race at Santa Anita when Kobe’s Back rallied from last to beat five rivals in the Grade 2, $200,250 San Vicente Stakes on Sunday.

Kobe’s Back ($5.40), the favorite, benefited from a contested early pace between Cherubim, Papa Turf, and Grazen’s Hope, who dueled through fractions of 22.73 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45 seconds for a half-mile. Kobe’s Back relaxed patiently under jockey Joel Rosario, began to pick off the back markers midway around the far turn, then easily rolled past Cherubim to win going away by 5 1/4 lengths.

Cherubim held on for second, a length in front of Rprettyboyfloyd. Papa Turf was fourth, then came Roger Rocket and Grazen’s Hope.

Kobe’s Back completed seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:21.84.

This was the first start for Kobe’s Back since a 10th-place finish in December in the CashCall Futurity, in which he clipped the heels of stablemate Candy Boy near the far turn. Rosario rode him for the first time that day and made his way across the country to retain the mount.

“I just wanted him to ride him patiently,” said Sadler, adding that Kobe’s Back likely will make his next start in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 15.

“It’s a little quick back for the San Felipe,” Sadler said of a race here March 8. “And we have Kristo for that.” Candy Boy is awaiting the Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

If Kobe’s Back does run in the Rebel, Rosario might have a conflict. He was set to ride Strong Mandate in the Southwest Stakes on Monday at Oaklawn, and it is likely that Strong Mandate would make his next start in the Rebel, too.

In the winner’s circle after the San Vicente, Sadler told Rosario to have his agent, Ron Anderson, call him after the Southwest. The message was clear: Are you going to ride Kobe’s Back or Strong Mandate in the Rebel?

The San Vicente did not offer any points toward the Kentucky Derby under the system used by Churchill Downs to determine eligibility to the race should more than the maximum of 20 runners enter. As of now, Kobe’s Back has zero points. The Rebel is worth 50 to the winner.

Kobe’s Back was stirred up in the paddock before the San Vicente, but Sadler said that was a case of a horse eager to go after not having competed for two months. He said he had schooled Kobe’s Back in the paddock for four days recently.

“He wanted to run,” Sadler said.

Kobe’s Back has won twice in four starts. He won his debut last summer at Hollywood Park in the Willard Proctor Memorial, then was second to Shared Belief in the Hollywood Prevue before his CashCall Futurity debacle.

Kobe’s Back, a colt by Flatter, is owned by the C R K Stable of Lee and Susan Searing, who also own Candy Boy. The Searings purchased Kobe’s Back for $480,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. auction of 2-year-olds in training last March.

• Rosario swept the day’s stakes races. Two races prior to the San Vicente, he guided Red Outlaw ($7.20) to a narrow victory in the $97,450 Baffle Stakes for 3-year-olds on the hillside turf course. Red Outlaw just held off Gangnam Guy to win by a head, then survived a stewards’ inquiry. Horse Laugh was third. Peter Miller trains Red Outlaw, who has won all three of his starts. He was timed in 1:12.05 for about 6 1/2 furlongs on firm turf.



Brenda Benavidez More than 1 year ago
@ Mark: The horses give every ounce of what they have every time, win or lose, and any idiot that bashes a horse in any way must really have issues. Kobe you ran great!
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
With Joel flying cross country I was confident the mount was live. Sadly the race didn't offer much value, but a nice run anyhow. Today Joel flies to Oaklawn (takes as long as cross country as you need to make a connection) to ride Strong Mandate another race that may not offer many wagering opportunities, but we'll see in a few hours.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Ride on Curlin
jttf More than 1 year ago
i think he rides for lukas in three straight races
Jim More than 1 year ago
Not a Derby horse. But hey, the Woody Stephens on Belmont day would be a nice spot.
Mark More than 1 year ago
BTW the BC juveniles ran without lasix . FYI Jay .
MD23 More than 1 year ago
He will be a very, very nice horse down the road. 10 furlongs? Not sure. I happen to think he will get two turns just fine. His sire was Flatter and he sired Flat Out, who ran classic distances. No reason this horse can't go two turns either. He has big long strides and if he has the stamina, he can go a long way with those strides. He is a type, though, that looks like no matter what distance he's running, he will sit back and make one run. That being the case, he may be vulnerable to horses, like Shared Belief, who can get first jump on him. But....a VERY nice prospect. Excited to see what more he can do.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Distance is a question, and that time should not produce a high fig. But visually, Kobe is impressive. When he is set down and put on his belly, that stride is really awesome. He covers so much ground with those massive strides. Although San Vicente success doesn't exactly portend Triple Crown success, it recently has foreshadowed some solid career accomplishments. As of writing, the last 6 San Vicente winners before Kobe have all won at least one grade 1 race and at least 3 graded stakes.
jttf More than 1 year ago
sadler is all out with his horses. five stakes victories in last nine days. multiple six furlong works will take its toll. isnt this too early?
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
RIde on Curlin. TOMORROW
Scott More than 1 year ago
The last couple races he looked really, really green. It will be interesting to see how he's coming along.
Toan Pham More than 1 year ago
It looks like every horse ran in the CashCall behind shared belief come back and win. Candy boy, Tamarando, and now Kobe back.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Hmm. True indeed
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Yep, it looks like Eclipse voters got it correct recognizing the CashCall as the definitive juvy race and Shared Belief's win as the definitive performance. And the Beyer boys have to be thinking that huge 106 is looking fully legit.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
And if you remember boys and girls.............A GREY horse color signifies distance remember the Grey ghost "Miche"............Determined....etc.... ?????