Making her second start after tiring in her career debut, Kim K became a stakes winner, easily capturing the $100,000 Barretts Debutante Saturday at Los Alamitos.
A $330,000 April purchase by trainer Peter Miller for Gary Hartunian's Rockingham Ranch, the 2-year-old Will Take Charge filly battled inside 4-5 favorite Square Peggy and 19-10 second choice Naughty Tiger for the first half mile, then drew clear late to win by three lengths under apprentice jockey Heriberto Figueroa.
Out of the Trippi mare Trip for A.J, Kim K paid $8 and $3.40 – there was no show wagering – while completing the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.28. She's banked $57,200.
Square Peggy, who had gone gate-to-wire when defeating maidens in her second start Aug. 15, returned $2.40 while finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of Naughty Tiger, who entered having won two in a row, including the CTBA Stakes Aug. 1.
Miller thought Kim K, who was fifth after being part of the pace Sept. 2 when 6-1 under Figueroa in her bow at Del Mar, would benefit from the race.
“She was short first time out,'' he said. “I was a little reluctant to come back on two weeks rest, but I knew she needed that race, that track is deep and tiring and she was in the middle of a three or four horse speed spread going 6 ½ (furlongs), so I knew she would be fit.
“The kid (Figueroa) rode a great race. I'm very proud of the filly. She kicked home real nice. She's a beautiful filly and she's got a really good mind. I think she has a bright future.''
The stakes victory was the first at Los Alamitos for Figueroa, who enters the final five days of the Los Angeles County Fair meet atop the jockey standings with fellow apprentice Assael Espinoza.
Figueroa, who will turn 19 Dec. 8, and Espinoza both have eight winners, one more than Tiago Pereira. The two apprentices shared the Summer Thoroughbred Festival title earlier in the year with 12 wins apiece.
Espinoza, 18, doubled his meet total Saturday as he won four times, taking the third with Snaked, the fourth with Pray for Corday, the sixth with Buck Duane and the ninth with Super Sol.
Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 2 p.m.
The main event on the program is the $100,000 Los Alamitos Special. The inaugural running of the 1 ¼ mile event for 3-year-olds & up is the eighth of nine races. Scheduled post time is 5:28 p.m.
The field of eight – reduced by the scratch of Giant Influence – is topped by Harry F. Brubaker winner Dabster, Ya Gotta Wanna, runner-up in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap last month, and Colonist, who was fourth behind eventual 3-year-old champion West Coast in the Grade III Los Alamitos Derby last year.
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