Kobe's Back's dirt debut was successful, with the colt winning the San Vicente Stakes by open lengths (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire).
While the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita wasn’t a Kentucky Derby points race, it was clear at the end of the race that Kobe’s Back will fit right in on the Derby trail.
Making his first start on conventional dirt, Kobe’s Back covered the seven furlongs in a time of 1:21.84 as the 1.70-to-1 favorite.
The gray hung out around the back of the field for the early part of the race and eagerly moved up when jockey Joel Rosario asked him to challenge the leaders in the turn. He had to catch Cherubim in the stretch but when he finally took the lead inside the final furlong, the only question was how many lengths he would win by as he pulled away under a hand ride. Cherubim finished 5 1/4 lengths behind Kobe's Back in second while Papa Turf was third.
While running seven furlongs is a lot different than running the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby, Kobe's Back showed that he was still full of energy after the race. Rosario had issues pulling the colt up when they returned to the winner's circle, with Kobe's Back looking as though he'd rather run another race.
Highly touted after winning his debut in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths last June, this is Kobe’s Back’s first graded stakes victory in three tries. The San Vincente was the colt's first race outside of Hollywood Park and proved that he can handle dirt, a surface he had never competed on before.
The gray 3-year-old colt is by Flatter and out of Well. A $480,000 purchase at a 2-year-olds in training sale, he is a half-brother(same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to grade 3 winner Well Spelled.
For an Equibase chart, click here.