News & Barn notes

Kodiak Katie Looks To Make Most Of Second Turf Chance In Wednesday’s $75,000 Jersey Girl Handicap

July 03, 2018

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For Skip Einhorn, the decision to give Kodiak Katie another shot at a grass race came down to timing. The 5-year-old mare is coming off a 9¼-length score on the dirt on June 2, so she’s in top form. And she has taken to the turf during the mornings. 

The second chance he opted for won’t be an easy one, since Kodiak Katie will try the $75,000 Jersey Girl Handicap at a mile on the grass that highlights a special Wednesday, July 4, card at Monmouth Park – her first stakes race as well. But the veteran trainer is eager to see how she handles all of it. 

“The one time we tried her on the turf last year she was moving in the wrong direction at the time,” said Einhorn. “But we trained her in Ocala (Florida) in the fields and she seemed to go across it really well. Then we breezed her on the grass here just to make sure. One of the clockers said to me afterward that `she skipped across it.’ 

“So this seemed like a good spot and she deserves another shot. It’s not an easy race but there are just as many question marks with the other horses as there are with her.” 

The Jersey Girl, restricted to Jersey-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-up, will go as the eighth race on the nine-race holiday card. It has drawn a field of eight as well as two also eligibles. 

Kodiak Katie, with a 2-4-2 line from 13 career starts, has earned $102,295 during her career. The daughter of Kodiak Kowboy-Murphy Style finished sixth in her lone career turf try last year at Monmouth Park, 7¼ lengths behind the winner, Valedictorian, who is also in this field. 

“It’s a test for her, no doubt,” said Einhorn. 

Valedictorian, trained by Kelly Breen, is the 5-2 morning line favorite, returning to Monmouth Park after a winter against open company at Gulfstream Park. The 4-year-old filly was sharp in her victory in a allowance race on the grass last Aug. 27 at Monmouth. 

“We prepared her just for this race,” said Breen. “We gave her time off (Valedictorian has not raced since race since March 22), she’s a Jersey-bred who ran well at Gulfstream and we primed her up hopefully for a top effort in this race.” 

Carlos Hernandez has the mount aboard Valediction after riding Kodiak Katie her last two starts and Heading Home, another contender in the field, in her last two starts as well. 

“Carlos Hernandez is riding well right now,” said Breen. “He won with her at Gulfstream (on July 25, 2017) and he has worked her for us.” 

Wilmer Garcia will ride Kodiak Katie instead, with Albin Jiminez scheduled to be aboard Heading Home. 

The Wednesday card starts with a 12:50 first race post and includes a Jersey Shore Pick 6 carryover of $80,081. The 20-cent jackpot bet covers the final six races on the card.