Handal Says Fantasy Flop Won’t Define Kansas Kis’ Season

Trainer Ray Handal experienced the highs and lows of horse racing with shippers Kansas Kis and Timely Tradition on closing weekend at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.

The duo were the first starters for Handal since March 15, the last day of live racing in New York, when he saddled Timely Tradition for a victory in a restricted claiming sprint at the Big A.

In Friday’s Grade 3 Fantasy, Perrine Time Thoroughbreds’ Kansas Kis was bumped at the start and raced from next-to-last in the 14-horse field as Venetian Harbor and Swiss Skydiver battled on the lead. Kansas Kis advanced down the backstretch and circled wide through the turn, but ultimately finished 12th as Swiss Skydiver won a thrilling stretch duel.

A day later, New York-bred Timely Tradition broke sharply under Joel Rosario from the inside post in a six-furlong starter allowance and never looked back in a decisive 2 ¾-length front-running score.

“It was nice to win that race. The filly really ran a big one for us,” said Handal. “Obviously, it was a little disappointing with Kansas Kis.”

Kansas Kis utilized a prominent trip in her previous start in the Busher Invitational when defeated a nose by Water White on March 7 at the Big A. On Friday, Kansas Kis was boisterous on post parade and was away awkwardly under jockey Florent Geroux before getting stuck behind a wall of horses into the first turn.

Handal said Kansas Kis can be a little fiery but was compromised by a less-than-perfect break.

“What I didn’t like was the stutter step at the break. She’s a filly that’s very tactical and being way back like that on a speed-favoring track didn’t help,” said Handal. “Especially, going into the first turn with all the checking and everything else going on in front of Florent. I don’t think she really liked the kick back.

“She never really got into a steady rhythm,” continued Handal. “By the time she got her feet underneath her, she made a mild run but really everything just went wrong from the break to the half-mile pole.”

Handal said he remains confident in his filly and believes she will improve from the race experience.

“I told the owners that this race doesn’t define this filly. She’s a very good filly and a stone-cold runner and she’s going to keep getting better with age,” said Handal. “It was a lot to ask of her, but I think she got a lot out it. This was a Kentucky Oaks type field.”

Bush Racing Stable’s Timely Tradition, bred in the Empire State by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone, secured her ninth career win to remain undefeated in two starts for Handal.

The 6-year-old First Defence mare was claimed for $25,000 out of a third-place effort on January 26 at Aqueduct Racetrack. She followed up by earning a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure with a 3 ¼-length score in a restricted claiming sprint on March 15 before shipping outside of New York for the first time in her 27-race career.

“When I got her, I thought of her as being ready made and as long as she kept running the way she was running we could make money with her,” said Handal. “She’s done well for us and put on weight. Even shipping down to Arkansas, she held her weight real well.

“She’s been a good claim,” continued Handal. “I think when racing starts back up here in New York, we’ll be in good shape. She could be a New York-bred stakes horse.”

The post Handal Says Fantasy Flop Won’t Define Kansas Kis’ Season appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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