03/02/2013 8:03PM

Santa Anita: Suggestive Boy takes Kilroe Mile for McAnally's 700th local victory

Barbara D. Livingston
Suggestive Boy (right), ridden by Joe Talamo, holds off Silentio to prevail by a nose in the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Ron McAnally joined the 700 club at Santa Anita on Saturday in the most-appropriate fashion, winning a Grade 1 race on Santa Anita Handicap Day,  and with an import from South America.

McAnally is best known for his work training two-time Big Cap winner John Henry, as well as with South American imports such as Bayakoa, Candy Ride, and Paseana. On the Big Cap undercard Saturday, he struck with Suggestive Boy, an Argentine import who won his second straight stakes race by capturing the Grade 1, $300,750 Kilroe Mile.

Suggestive Boy ($5), the favorite, had to earn it. He was stretched to the limit in the late going by Silentio, but held on to prevail by a nose under Joe Talamo. Fed Biz was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and was followed, in order, by Mr. Commons, Forest Mouse, Akkadian, Wilkinson, and Vagabond Shoes.

The victory was the 700th lifetime at Santa Anita for McAnally, 80, a Hall of Famer.

“I’ve been around a long time,” he said.

Suggestive Boy was third, racing outside leaders Vagabond Shoes and Forest Mouse during the early going of 22.88 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.64 seconds for a half-mile. He then surged to the front at the top of the stretch before holding off the late run from Silentio while covering one mile on firm turf in a swift 1:32.89

“He likes some pace in front of him, and he’s got a good turn of foot,” McAnally said.

Suggestive Boy, 5, has won 7 of 13 lifetime, including 3 of 7 in this country.

“The longer they’re here, the better for these South American horses,” McAnally said.

McAnally doesn’t have as many horses as he did during his heyday, but maintains all “I need is the horse.” Suggestive Boy is the barn’s star these days.

“He makes you get up in the morning,” McAnally said. “Good horses are so hard to come by.”

McAnally was close friends for years with the race’s namesake, Frank. E. “Jimmy” Kilroe, the longtime director of racing at Santa Anita, so this victory had extra meaning.

“Jimmy was the heart of Santa Anita,” McAnally said. “He did a lot for me.”