Salutos Amigos and Kobe's Back, who last met in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint Oct. 31, head a field of six older horses going six furlongs in Sunday's Grade II, $200,000 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita.
Owned in-part and trained by David Jacobson, Salutos Amigos comes off a close second as the 9-5 favorite in the Grade III, 6 ½ furlong Midnight Lute Stakes here on Jan. 2 and thus merits top billing. Second, beaten a neck in the prestigious Grade I, six furlong Vosburgh Stakes Sept. 26 at Belmont, he was subsequently fifth, beaten 4 ½ lengths by Eclipse Award winning sprinter Runhappy in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, as he and Kobe's Back, who finished seventh, were separated by just a nostril at the wire.
A 6-year-old gelding by Salute the Sarge, Salutos Amigos has six wins from 17 tries at six furlongs. Also owned by Southern Equine Stable, LLC, Salutos Amigos, who would prefer to rally from off the pace, is 35-10-4-4 overall, with earnings of $1,142,406.
Notoriously tardy leaving the starting gate, C R K Stable's Kobe's Back was again away slowly in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, but rallied well under Gary Stevens who rides back from the rail post in the Palos Verdes.
A winner of the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes when trained by John Sadler at age three, Kobe's Back, a 5-year-old horse by Flatter, was second, beaten a neck, two starts back in the Grade I, six furlong Santa Anita Sprint Championship and is still regarded as one of the nation's more highly regarded sprinters.
Conditioned by Peter Eurton in his last seven starts, Kobe's Back is 16-3-3-2 overall with earnings of $652,250.
The complete field for the Grade II Palos Verdes, to be run as the sixth race on an eight-race card Sunday, with jockeys and all horses assigned 119 pounds in post position order: Kobe's Back, Gary Stevens; Salutos Amigos, Rafael Bejarano; Mystery Train, Tyler Baze; Pulling G's, Victor Espinoza; Rocket Heat, Edwin Maldonado, and Cautious Giant, Santiago Gonzalez.
Please note, there is early first post time on Big Game Sunday at Santa Anita of 11 a.m. Admission gates will open at 9 a.m.
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