KOBE’S BACK HEADS SATURDAY’S GRADE III LAZARO BARRERA STAKES; SADLER TRAINEE EXITS BIG THIRD IN GRADE III BAY SHORE GOING SEVEN FURLONGS

PUERTO RICAN SENSATION TONITO M. TO MAKE U.S. DEBUT FOR HOLLENDORFER

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 7, 2014)—Trainer John Sadler’s Kobe’s Back appears well-suited as he heads a field of seven sophomores in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes going seven furlongs at Santa Anita.

A 5 ¼ length winner of the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente stakes three starts back on Feb. 16, Kobe’s Back comes off a troubled third place run in the Grade III, seven furlong Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on April 5. The 7-5 favorite in a field of eight, he hit the starting gate at the break and came running late to be beaten just a half length.

Owned by Susan Searing, Kobe’s Back was a first-out winner of the 5 ½ furlong Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes on June 15, 2013 and was considered a top-tier Kentucky Derby prospect last fall and winter.

A Kentucky-bred colt by the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, he was second as the 4-5 favorite to eventual Eclipse Champion 2-year-old colt Shared Belief, in his second start, the Grade III, seven furlong Hollywood Preview on Nov. 10. With a win, a second and a third at seven furlongs, he’s 6-2-1-1 overall with earnings of $234,250.

Tonito M. is a speedy Puerto Rican-raced sensation who will make his U.S. debut in the Barrera. A four-time group winner in Puerto Rico, he’s won six of his seven starts and has been odds-on each time. A six length winner of the Group I, 1 1/16 miles Clasico Agustin Mercado Reveron Stakes three starts back on Dec. 22, he has been idle since winning the Group III, 1 1/16 miles George Washington Stakes by 11 ½ lengths on Feb. 16.

A Kentucky-bred colt by Rock Hard Ten, Tonito M. is now trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. He worked a bullet six furlongs from the gate at Santa Anita in 1:11.80 on May 2 and appears primed and ready. He’s owned by M Racing Group, LLC and has earnings of $96,109.

The complete field for the Lazaro Barrera Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Ferocious, Joe Talamo, 118; Tonito M., Rafael Bejarano, 123; Kobe’s Back, Corey Nakatani, 123; Chelious, Gary Stevens, 118; Twenty Percent, Mike Smith, 118; Puppy Manners, Tyler Baze, 118, and Top Fortitude, Kayla Stra, 118.

First post time on Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.