July 18, 2024

Kiss Today Goodbye rallies to San Antonio upset

Kiss Today Goodbye
Kiss Today Goodbye wins the San Antonio Stakes ©Benoit Photo

Kiss Today Goodbye closed last-to-first to spring a 15-1 upset in Saturday’s $200,000 San Antonio (G2) at Santa Anita. And connections have every reason to be excited for tomorrow following the 3-year-old’s first stakes win.

“He was always very immature early on,” trainer Eric Kruljac said following Kiss Today Goodbye’s third career victory. “It just took him longer to get to where he is, and I think he is really just beginning to mature.”

Owned by John Sonderecker and trained by Eric Kruljac, Kiss Today Goodbye was piloted by Mike Smith on the opening-day program. The Cairo Prince colt saved ground at the tail of the six-horse field, as Take the One O One showed the way on a short lead while being tracked by 1-2 favorite Mucho Gusto.

The opening fractions (:23.83, :47.81, and 1:11.42) were reasonable, and Kiss Today Goodbye launched his bid nearing the completion of the far turn. Smith swung his mount off the rail entering the stretch, and the dark bay rallied determinedly while four wide, edging past a trio of runners in deep stretch to win going away by a half-length.

Kiss Today Goodbye completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.37.

Idol, who stalked the pace in third as the 4-1 second choice, got up along the rail for runner-up honors, three-quarters of a length better than 29-1 Take the One O One.

Mucho Gusto, who was making his first start since a fourth in the $20 million Saudi Cup in late February, appeared poised to strike at the top of the stretch but lacked the needed rally through the final furlong. He weakened to fourth while prepping for a title defense in the Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

Midcourt and Extra Hope completed the order of finish.

Kiss Today Goodbye needed five starts to break his maiden, graduating on Santa Anita’s main track in late February. He finished third in his stakes debut two starts later, the Shared Belief S. at Del Mar in early August. And then switched to turf for his next two outings, recording a fifth in the Del Mar Derby (G2) and fourth in the Twilight Derby (G2).

However, the dark bay was exiting an encouraging entry-level allowance victory at Del Mar, switching back to dirt to score by 2 3/4 lengths at a mile on Nov. 14, and the sophomore carried his form forward in the San Antonio.

“I was impressed with his last race and I wasn’t even riding him,” Smith said. “He ran by me in that last race. I thank Eric Kruljac for the opportunity of riding him and for his great training job. The race was shaping up for him with the speed up front and when it came time to run, he took off. I just guided him around the track.”

Kiss Today Goodbye has now earned $230,802 from an 11-3-0-4 record. Bred in Kentucky by Debmar Stables, he commanded $150,000 when selling as a yearling at the 2018 Keeneland January sale. Kiss Today Goodbye is out of the stakes-winning Heatseeker mare Savvy Heister.