Pretension Scores In Canonero II Stakes

Pretension Scores In Canonero II Stakes

BALTIMORE, 05-05-12---Kidwells Petite Stable’s Pretension took it to the odds-on favorite My Adonis and beat him, winning today’s feature at Pimlico Race Course, the $75,000 Canonero II Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Ridden by Javier Santiago for trainer Chris Grove, Pretension broke alertly in the 1-1/16th mile test but relinquished the lead to 1-5 favorite My Adonis as the field entered the first turn. Santiago kept after the favorite, pressing him closely to the top of the lane, where his mount edged to a narrow lead. The son of Bluegrass Cat battled My Adonis into defeat, while Brimstone Island rallied past the favorite to take second.

My Adonis was an also-eligible for Saturday’s $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs but when he failed to draw into the race, trainer Kelly Breen shipped the son Pleasantly Perfect to Pimlico from Louisville on Friday. He could finish no better than third. The favorite traveled from Oceanport, NJ to Louisville to Baltimore during an 81-hour period this week (Tuesday through Friday), traveling more than 1,350 miles in a van which could have taken its toll but Breen would not use it an excuse.

“I don’t know what to say about the race but we’ll take him back home and check him out and move on,” Breen said. “He will not run in the Preakness off that effort.”

“If the travel time was going to bother (My Adonis) were going to take advantage of it,” Grove said. “The plan was not to give him a breather and either go with him, which could be suicide, or take back but take back didn’t seem to be the right avenue.”

Grove saddled Norman Asbjornson in the 2011 running of the Preakness Stakes (G1). The 42-year-old was non-committal about a run in this year’s middle jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, which will be two weeks from today at Pimlico.

“We are going to be conservative and see how Mr. (Irving) Kidwell sleeps on it, but if he gets excited we could be Preakness bound,” said Grove, a native of Frederick. “I don’t have a problem taking that route. If we were ever going to come back in two weeks, this would be it. He won over the track and looked good doing it.”

Pretension’s resume includes a win and a second in two restricted stakes at Aqueduct, a fifth place finish in the Gotham and a troubled ninth in the Illinois Derby (G3). With the victory, he is now three-of-eight with six 1-2 finishes with earnings of $128,620.

“Other than those two (Gotham and Illinois Derby), he has never run a bad race,” added Grove. “Edgar Prado said he would have finished third in the Gotham but he was riding to win. I always thought this horse was a little more advanced than Norman at this stage and was hoping to get him to the Preakness.”

Pretension, who won by neck, completed the distance in 1:45.70 and paid $18. The exacta , with Bowie Training Center-based Brimstone Island, returned $64.80.

“I thought I was going to get there when we turned for home,” said Xavier Perez, who rode the runner-up. “But as we got closer to the top two horses he dove in near the 2 (Pretension) and I had to reach down and grab him which stopped his momentum. He came back at them again but it was too late.”

The race was previously known as the Federico Tesio Stakes. Canonero II was a Venezuelan-based colt who won the 1971 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Trainer Juan Arias, jockey Gustavo Avila and Pedro Baptista, son of the owner, were on hand to present the trophy to the winning connections.



Saturday’s 11-race card also included a Jockey Challenge featuring four riders visiting from Venezuela competing against four from the Maryland colony.

Jean Carlo Rodriguez captured the top prize and earned a $10,000 check by edging Pimlico-based riders Abel Castellano and Malcolm Franklin. Horacio Karamanos finished fourth.

Rodriguez, a 23-year-old with more than 1,050 career winners, including victories in the Clasico Juan Antonio Paez (G1) and the Clasico Comparacion (G1) aboard Il Macchiato, won the opener aboard Hideaway Moon ($14.80) and finished third in the third (Fashion Princess) and seventh (Girl Wonder).

“I had never ridden on the turf before and three of the races were on it so it was certainly different but what a great event,” said Rodriguez, who was riding in the United States for just the second time of his career. “I am very thankful to Pimlico for bringing us to the United States and having the chance to ride at a track where one of the Triple Crown races takes place.”

Franklin (Swing Even-race 3), Castellano (Sir Rabbit-race 5) and Karamanos Charged Cotton-race 7) won the other three races of the challenge.

The day was exciting for Castellano, who was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela but has spent the last 12 years in America.

“These guys had a ton of fun and I am so happy for Jean Carlo,” said Castellano, who leads the Pimlico rider standings with 27 winners. “I did not have much of a chance to ride in my home country and was very proud to ride against some of my country’s best and to represent the USA in the competition. I feel like this is more like home for me, my wife and kids.”

Francisco Arrieta (fifth place), Edgar Perez (seventh place) and Santiago Gonzalez (eighth place) also represented Venezuela.

Julian Pimentel (sixth place) was the fourth local rider.