Kettle Corn catches a break in San Diego Handicap
DEL MAR, Calif. (July 25, 2012) - For at least one major stakes in Southern California this summer, Kettle Corn does not have to chase Game On Dude in Saturday’s $200,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar.
In the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 2, Kettle Corn was second to Game On Dude. In the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 7, he was third behind Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid.
“He didn’t have an excuse at Hollywood, other than being second or third behind maybe the very best,” trainer John Sadler said.
Owned by Lee and Susan Searing, Kettle Corn can win his first stakes in the Grade 2 San Diego since the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park last December.
At the least, Sadler is confident that Kettle Corn is suited to Del Mar’s Polytrack surface, where he was fourth and first in allowance races last summer.
“We think this is his best surface,” Sadler said.
Sadler’s confidence soared last weekend, when Kettle Corn worked six furlongs. Officially, Kettle Corn was timed in 1:12.20. Sadler timed him slightly faster, in 1:11.80.
“He was very sharp in the work,” Sadler said.
A closer, Kettle Corn will be ridden by Garrett Gomez in the San Diego.
The race offers an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, provided the winner is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program.
Kettle Corn will race as a stalker, and will be a leading contender.
The expected field of seven includes defending champion Tres Borrachos, and two runners trained by Bob Baffert – Take Control and Prayer for Relief.
Prayer for Relief was third in the Californian.