Kinza goes to 2-for-2 in Las Virgenes

Saturday, February 10th, 2024

Kinza and jockey Juan Hernandez win the Grade 3 Las Virgenes Stakes Saturday at Santa Anita. Benoit Photo.

An impressive maiden special weight winner on debut to end last year, the New York-bred Carpe Diem filly Kinza easily stayed undefeated Saturday with a win in the Grade 3 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Stretching out to 1 mile for her second start, the Bob Baffert trainee went straight to the lead and set an easy pace a length ahead of the rest of the field. Setting early fractions of :22.99 and :46.91, Kinza faced mild pressure for the first time going into the turn when Kopion tried to mount a challenge but Kinza proved to be too good.

Kinza was comfortably ahead throughout the stretch run to win by 2 lengths in 1:37.03 for owner Michael Lund Petersen. The 2024 Las Virgenes was the third win in the stakes in as many years for Baffert, who has eight Las Virgenes winners overall.

“I never asked her to go that fast she was doing it all on her own,” winning jockey Juan Hernandez said “That was the key to win the race, that she was comfortable the whole race. When I asked her at the quarter pole, she picked it up, so I think she is a really nice filly.”

The victory took the undefeated filly to $99,000 in earnings in her two starts with both those wins coming at Santa Anita. Kinza will most likely stretch out even more from here with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes thinking there is more to come.

“She acts like a filly that can handle (two turns),” Barnes said. “You don’t know until you do it, but she had shown in the morning, in her workouts that she could go further. I was more concerned there was so much speed, with the small field and a lot of speed.”

Bred by JD Business Ventures, Brushy Hill Stables and the Carpe Diem Syndicate, Kinza was sold three times before her debut.

The filly made her auction debut as a weanling when consigned by Schuylerville Thoroughbred Farm and brought $17,000 from Marysue Stable at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale. The following fall, she was purchased as a yearling for $30,000 by Grassroots Training and Sales for $30,000 at the OBS October sale.

Donato Lanni went to $350,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale to purchase her for Petersen as the second most expensive New York-bred of that sale. Kinza is the first foal out of winning Quality Road mare Secret Wonder.

A $100,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase in 2014, Secret Wonder is a half-sister to the stakes placed Mylastfirstkiss. The family also includes Grade 3 winner Gentler Ruler and two other stakes winners under Kinza’s third dam.

Secret Wonder’s youngest foal is a New York-bred Instagrand filly born March 9, 2022.

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