03/19/2011 1:30PM

Santa Anita: Regally Ready gives Nakatani his first stakes win of meet

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Benoit Photo
Regally Ready and Corey Nakatani win Friday's Joe Hernandez Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Corey Nakatani needed 10 tries to win his first stakes at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, finally doing so in Friday’s $79,150 Joe Hernandez Stakes aboard the highly-promising turf sprinter Regally Ready.

For an accomplishment that took 51 racing days to achieve, Nakatani had a relatively easy time of getting Regally Ready to win his first stakes in the Hernandez. Nakatani guided the 4-year-old gelding to an early lead, set a moderate pace of 22.50 and 44.88 seconds – by hillside standards – and won by 1 3/4 lengths over 12-1 Leroy’s Dynameaux as the 1-2 favorite.

“I pretty much had him in hand,” Nakatani said. “I just made sure to get him around in good order, set him down, and he kicked home.”

Regally Ready may return for the $100,000 San Simeon Handicap on the hillside turf course by April 16. By then, Nakatani hopes to have expanded his list of stakes winners, and his presence in the jockey standings.

Through Friday, Nakatani was eighth in the standings with 21 wins, well behind leader Joel Rosario who had 71. For Nakatani, 40, the current Santa Anita winter-spring meeting is his first at the track since 2009-10. Last year, he rode at Oaklawn Park in the winter and Churchill Downs in the spring.
Nakatani had switched circuits in an effort to revive his career following shoulder and ankle injuries. He returned for Del Mar and rode in Southern California the second half of the year, a portion of the season highlighted by a win in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity on the Kentucky Derby prospect Comma to the Top.

At Santa Anita this winter, Nakatani has won with 17 percent of his mounts and has the fewest number of mounts among the 10 leading riders.

“Things are looking up,” Nakatani said. “I’m winning at a good percentage. If we can get our foot in the door with everyone things will look up more.”

Nakatani rode Regally Ready for trainer Steve Asmussen, and has ridden for such major stables as Jerry Hollendorfer and John Shirreffs in recent days. He knows he needs to build on that, and lure attention from trainers Bob Baffert and John Sadler, to win the bigger races and move higher in the standings.

“You need everybody,” he said.

Kilograeme euthanized

Kilograeme, who finished fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on March 5, was euthanized as a result of a pelvis injury suffered while recovering from surgery on Wednesday, trainer Mike Mitchell said.

Kilograeme had a bone chip removed from a rear leg, but suffered a fractured pelvis following the operation, Mitchell said.

“When she came out of the anesthesia, she broke her pelvis,” Mitchell said. “When you operate on a hind leg, getting up can be a problem. She could have had a stress fracture that we couldn’t see. It’s such a shame.”

Owned by a partnership that included the Little Red Feather syndicate, Kilograeme won 2 of 3 starts and $81,000. The Santa Anita Oaks was her stakes debut. She finished 11 lengths behind race winner Turbulent Descent.