08/02/2010 1:36PM

Stormin Rae must relax in Graduation Stakes


DEL MAR, Calif. – The illness that contributed to Stormin Rae finishing second in his debut in June was long gone when he beat maidens by more than four lengths at Hollywood Park last month.

The maiden race win pushed Stormin Rae to the fore of California’s 2-year-old male division as the group approaches its first stakes of the year in Southern California in Wednesday’s $100,000 Graduation Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar.

Co-owner and trainer Adam Kitchingman was confident of Stormin Rae’s chances in the maiden race and said Sunday that his opinion has not changed, provided the colt can be patient in the early running of Wednesday’s race.

“He was training so good going into the second start,” Kitchingman said. “We’ve been trying to get him to come from off the pace. As along as he doesn’t get carried away, he should be okay.”

Purchased for $14,000 at Barretts last October, Stormin Rae was found to have a presence of mucous after he lost his debut June 5.

“He looked like he’d win and he stopped,” Kitchingman said.

In the Graduation Stakes, Stormin Rae has drawn the outside post in a field of 11. Even with that draw, the colt’s speed should allow him to gain a good position on the backstretch.

A clean start is vital for Lucky Mr. K. Trained by Jeff Bonde, Lucky Mr. K beat maidens in his debut at Hollywood Park on June 23 but was only second after a slow start in the Everett Nevin Stakes at Pleasanton on July 10.

“It’s a good draw for him,” Bonde said. “We got left on a speed-biased track at Pleasanton. He ran a spotty race. We gave him an easy breeze, and he worked really good. Hopefully, he’s on his game.”

Lucky Mr. K is one of three runners with stakes experience. Edgewick Road was third in the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes and fourth in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship at Hollywood Park, while Leon Ayala was seventh and fifth in those races.

Joy Boy makes his first start for trainer Brian Koriner, following an 11-length win in a maiden claimer at Pleasanton on July 11 in his third career start.

J J Minister, winner of a $32,000 claiming race for maidens here July 21, is the only horse in the field with a race over the track.