Courtesy of Santa Anita.com
ARCADIA, CA (Sept. 29, 2023)—With a fast pace to run at, John Sadler’s Kirstenbosch flew late to take Friday’s Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes on Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet opening feature by 1 ¾ lengths. Owned and bred by Keith Abrahams and ridden by Hector Berrios, Kirstenbosch, a 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute, got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.37 and is now headed to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Sprint at seven furlongs on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
With eventual runner-up Clearly Unhinged, heavily favored Eda and no less than three other fillies vying for early supremacy, Berrios was content to be next to last, about eight lengths off the lead past the half mile pole. Around the far turn, Kirstenbosch saved ground, then tipped four wide for home as Clearly Unhinged opened up on the field, but with fractions of 21.66, 43.69 and 1:08.80 in the bank, she was no match for the winner who reeled her in about 50 yards out.
“What I’ve been talking about with Keith (Abrahams) is it is not the distance for her, it is the setup, and she finally got the setup she wanted, which is faster,” said Sadler. “She always puts in a good late run, but if they go slow in front it’s sometimes hard for her.”
Will Kirstenbosch go on to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint? “Yes, because it’s seven eighths and you might get a strong pace,” he added.
Most recently second in the Grade III Rancho Bernardo Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs Aug. 27 at Del Mar, Kirstenbosch was off at 6-1 in a field of seven fillies and mares three and up and paid $15.00, $5.40 and $2.40.
“I knew there was a lot of speed in the race and I knew the pace would be in my favor,” said Berrios. “I tried to stay as still as I could on her and around the turn, I asked her and she responded well and drew away from the field.”
Out of the Belong to Me mare Llandudno, Kirtenbosch, who had been winless in six starts following victory in the Grade III La Canada Stakes here Jan. 15, picked up $60,000 for the win, boosting her earnings to $521,480 from and overall mark of 17-4-5-2.