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An Odd Couple Battle in Potrero

Between them, Kona Gold and Bluesthestandard have won 26 of 47 starts and earned over $2.5 million entering their first meeting in the $200,000 Potrero Breeders’ Cup Handicap today at Santa Anita.

What an unlikely encounter it is. While Kona Gold has been battling in stakes company for several years, winning a Breeders’ Cup Sprint along the way, Bluesthestandard comes from humble beginnings.

A Georgia-bred, the 6-year-old son of American Standard debuted in a maiden claimer, raced for as little as $10,000, but has continued to be successful as he has moved up the class ladder.

Taken for $50,000 by owner Jeffrey Sengara, who did quite well with another $50,000 claim named Budroyale a few years ago, and trainer Ted H. West, Bluesthestandard won a $62,500 optional claimer on Feb. 17, then stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in a more expensive optional claimer and prevailed by a nose on March 12.

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In the Potrero Grande, a 6 1/2-furlong race won twice before by Kona Gold, Bluesthestandard will be making his graded stakes debut.

A winner of six of nine at Santa Anita, he will break from the outside in the field of seven and be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith.

Age may be starting to tell on Kona Gold.

A winner of half of his 28 races, the 9-year-old son of Java Gold will be trying to rebound from a last-place finish as the 7-5 favorite in the Palos Verdes Handicap on Jan. 26.

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Race of the day: Hero’s Tribute, who was second to Harlan’s Holiday in the Donn Handicap last month, heads the field in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap at 1 1/4 miles.

Who’s hot: Martin Pedroza. The jockey won three races on Thursday, including a sweep of the early double with Gambling Rent and Dixie Thrill.

Who’s not: Enrique Alonso. The trainer lost with 41 of his first 42 starters at Gulfstream Park.

Exotically speaking: A pick three using Stocks Are Rising, Hyder and White Bronco in the third, singling Tejan in the fourth and Cassirer, Royal Moro, Sublet, Now Voyager and Balenos in the fifth.

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Winners: Previous day/meet total: 2/192. Money: Previous day/meet total: $14/$1,082.40. Total money bet: $1,164.


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