Calvin Nguyen’s Kentucky-bred Idol scored the initial stakes win of his career in one of the country’s most historical Grade 1 events, rallying strongly in the stretch to take down top prize in the $400,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) on Saturday, March 6. Hit the Road made it a Kentucky-bred sweep of the day’s Grade 1 events, proving best in the $400,000 Kilroe Mile (G1).
Piloted by Joel Rosario, Idol raced toward the back of the pack in the early stages of the 1 ¼- mile Big ‘Cap. He kicked into gear around the far turn, traveling five-wide entering the stretch. In a steady drive, he collared fellow Kentucky-bred Express Train nearing the wire to prevail by a half-length at the finish. Previously unbeaten Maxfield finished third. The winner covered the distance in 2:02.46.
Idol is a son of Curlin out of the stakes-winning A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood. Richard Baltas conditions the bay 4-year-old who was bred by My Meadowview LLC. Prior to the Big ‘Cap, Idol finished second in the San Antonio Stakes (G2) and was third in the San Pasqual Stakes (G2), both at Santa Anita.
Hit the Road, ridden by Florent Geroux, rode the rail to victory in the Kilroe Mile, defeating Smooth Like Strait by a neck, getting one mile on turf in 1:34.48. Trained by Dan Blacker for owners D K Racing LLC, Radley Equine Inc., Taste of Victory Stables, Rick Gold, Tony Maslowski, and Dave Odmark, Hit the Road was bred by Fred W. Hertrich III.
The bay colt is by More Than Ready and is produced from the U.S. Ranger mare Highway Mary. It was the fourth consecutive win for the 4-year-old who won the Thunder Road Stakes (G3) in his previous start and captured the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar last summer.
Also, on March 6 in Australia, Kentucky-bred Homesman captured the G1 Australian Cup at Flemington. The 2014 son of War Front is owned by a partnership and was bred by Joseph Allen LLC.