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It took every bit of the 1 ⅞ miles of Turf Paradise’s closing day feature, the Hasta La Vista Stakes, on Saturday, May 4, for Kennebec to hit the front and earn his second consecutive stakes victory.

The 6-year-old gelding went off as the 11-10 choice in the eight-horse field, following a victory in the 1 ⅜ mile Wildcat Stakes over the Phoenix, Ariz., grass course on April 11. Much like he did in the Wildcat, he drafted towards the back of the pack early, sitting in last for the first few furlongs behind pedestrian fractions while fighting jockey Brayan Pena’s attempts at restraint. With just under one lap to go, Pena angled his mount to the outside and allowed him to relax. Kennebec responded in kind with a wide brush to the lead. With four furlongs to go, Kennebec rated in third, a length off the pace.

As they hit the top of the stretch, Kennebec remained in prime striking position, but his wide trip threatened to do him in as the pace quickened. House of Lords, saving ground the entire way, came up the inside and struck the front as Kennebec charged after him. The two battled in the final yards and hit the line together, with the photo disclosing Kennebec the winner by a nose. The final time on a firm turf course was 3:16.09.

The victory improved Kennebec’s record on the year to 4-0-0 in five starts, with earnings of $105,180. Lifetime, he’s 10-7-5 in 31 starts, with earnings of $287,543.

Kennebec was bred by Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group LLC and sold for $27,000 to Chris Drakos from the Brookdale Sales consignment at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The son of Lookin At Lucky was sent to California, where Drakos campaigned him with trainer Ryan Hanson for his first 10 starts, with one victory, before being claimed for $25,000 by current owner Sergio Salguero at Los Alamitos on July 3, 2021. Kennebec raced in the barn of trainer Jonathan Wong until the summer of 2023, when he was transferred to trainer Ruby Thomas. He was transferred yet again earlier this year to current trainer Jose Silva Jr.

Kennebec is out of the Maryland-bred Gators N Bears mare Thisdanseistaken. Grant claimed Thisdanseistaken, a 10-time winner and earner of $258,910, for $25,000 on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard in 2015, and retired the stakes-placed 6-year-old mare that fall. From four starters, Thisdanseistaken has produced a pair of winners, with Kennebec her first stakes winner. Her most recent foal is a 2-year-old Global Campaign filly named Belle of Freedom. Another mating to Global Campaign for 2023 did not produce a foal; she was bred to Improbable for 2024.

 

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