Kiva Kon Knows The Way to LA

LA Stakes (Grade 3)- $100.000 Purse
SA- For Three Years Old and Upward
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
May 25, 2015

Perhaps Night Rider Stables played a little trick on Kiva Kon prior to the race.    After all, the eight year old gelding produced two strong races in a pair of LA-bred victories earlier this year, so the trainer may have shown his horse the name of the race and had him confused that he was in an LA Bred race again, so he had to be at his best.   We were in fact, two time zones away from LA, this time at SA, in the LA Stakes, but Kiva Kon couldn’t have cared less. In a race that saw a heavy outside push at the start and some early fractions collapse, Kiva Kon used his rail trip to his benefit and prevailed in a tight finish. It is the first win for Night Rider Stables in this race, but his jockey T C Baze also knows the way, having won this stake for the third time. Congratulations to all of the connections on the win! Here is how it unfolded!

1st- 1- Kiva Kon (11/1)- The eventual race winner from Night Rider Stables was not part of the outside push that we saw, and he was content to let them have at it.  T C Baze opted to have his experienced gelding sit just two or three lengths off the lead, but comfortably along the rail.  With the leaders setting a rather quick pace, he had the potential to be in a great position if the leaders couldn’t keep up their quick ways.  Stalking the leaders paid off, as Kiva Kon was able to sneak through an opening on the rail to the inside of Claim Your Prize to allow him to continue to have a rather unhindered run.  There was a lot of fighting for position going on around him, but T C Baze could focus on the finish line while on the rail, and in a hard stretch run and in a finish that saw the entire field finish within two lengths of each other, this trip may have made the difference, something that we know the trainer can understand!  Congratulations to all of the connections once again!  The winning time was 1:09.27.

2nd- 9- Bold Star (5/1)- The two time BC Sprint Champion from Sanny Village was part of a four horse outside push to get the race started.  This enable Bold Star to clear the field and get a good lane for the turn.  On exit of the turn, Bold Star jumped to the lead, and given his history at this track, you had to think for a moment that this was about to become his race.  There was nothing wrong with his stretch run, just that he ended up drifting out to being about four or five wide in the stretch, and that may have been just enough for Kiva Kon to sneak in there along the rail to hit the wire first.

3rd- 8- Claim Your Prize (6/1)-   Part of the opening four-horse outside that allowed him to get position along the rail for the turn for trainer Axeman.   On exit of the turn, he left a little bit of daylight along the rail in which Kiva Kon pounced upon.  He fought hard in the stretch, and Kiva Kon never actually did clear him by more then a length.  Prevailed in a tight photo for 3rd.

4th- 2- Don’t Tell Master (9/1)-Got off to midpack start for Wynnewood, sitting behind the second group of three in the early going.  Possibly could not get going as quick as he would have liked in the stretch, but he still able to have a good run and was advancing at the end, and missed third in the headbob.

5th (dh)- 4- Zykov (9/1)- The Rouge River Stables entry was next to last at the start.  With plenty of legs underneath him, V Espinoza prompted Zykov to advance up the middle, hoping to get the lane right behind Bold Star.   This was a good move, as he could have been Gsin, who had to be about 500-wide to advance from the back.  In the end, the two of them hit the wire together for a declared 5th place dead heat.

5th (dh)- 6- Gsin (5/1)- Our pre-race favorite from Team 7 Illusions struggled in the early going promptly moving to the back.  More then likely this was further back then the trainer was wanting, and it would do Gsin in here.  On exit of the turn, Gsin would be absolutely full of run, but Gutierrez had no other choice then to practically angle his horse into the grandstands he was so wide.   It was a valiant effort while about 11-wide, and no one covered more racetrack then he did today.  Given the circumstances, a good run, and throw this finish out the next time you see him, as he could have been much better, if not the winner.

7th- 3- Jack In The Box (8/1)- Looking to extend trainer Choppy Inc’s winning streak in this stake, the gelding didn’t start particularly well, running near the back.  Began to make a move in the stretch, but in order to be able to do this, he had to go about eight wide or so, and that’s what led to this overall finish.

8th- 7- Mr Shine (27/1)- It was a midpack start for the Wolfs Den entry, as he had no interest in joining the push that the four to his outside would pursue.  Did well on exit of the turn to catch the leaders, and was able to get a clear lane for the stretch.  However, he would simply not be able to carry this run until the end, and will settle for a position well out of the money.

9th- 5- Make Me Danz (51/1)- Maze Stables longest shot on the board was about three lengths back in the early going.  He did well to hang in there, but was never able to make any kind of a push to advance, and would only be able to pass the two early pacesetters.

10th- 10- Heineken (13/1)- The Riggins Racing entry started quickly out of the gate and was able to get into the third lane over for the run into the first turn.  Hung in there for a little while, but was unable to keep up in the stretch.

11th- 11- Charlies Material (4/1)- C S Nakatani had the lone three year old in the field quick out of the gate for Stald Gullis, setting the opening quarter in a quick :22.17.   The quick pace continued, but in the stretch the horse that was the unexpected betting favorite had run out of gas and had to settle for the last position.

  Kiva Kon Night Rider Stables Baze T C 11.30   1nk 1:09.27  
  Bold Star Sanny Village Leparoux J R 5.05   2nk 1:09.34  
  Claim Your Prize Axeman Smith M E 5.90   3no 1:09.39  
  Dont Tell Master Wynnewood Bejarano R 8.85   41/2 1:09.40  
  Zykov Rouge River Stables Espinoza V 9.60   5nk 1:09.53  
  Gsin Team 7 Illusions Gutierrez Mario 5.00   5nk 1:09.53  
  Jack In The Box Choppy Inc. Van Dyke D 8.30   71/2 1:09.60  
  Mr Shine Wolfs Den Talamo J 27.10   8hd 1:09.73  
  Make Me Danz Maze Stables Desormeaux K J 51.20   9nk 1:09.77  
  Heineken Riggins Racing Velazquez J R 12.95   9nk 1:09.77  
  Charlies Material Stald Gullis Nakatani C S 4.20   11 1:09.84  

Track: Fast

Time: :22   :444  :564  1:091

$2 Mutuel Prices:

1 – Kiva Kon 24.60 11.20 6.20
9 – Bold Star   7.10 4.90
8 – Claim Your Prize     4.50

$1 Exacta: 1 – 9 Paid 95.30

$1 Trifecta: 1 – 9 – 8 Paid 637.00

Scratched: None

— NS

Categories: Grade III

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