ARCADIA, Calif. -- Ken Kinakin said he's not a risk taker by nature. It's an assessment he might want to reconsider after putting up a $180,000 supplemental fee just to get his Dancing in Silks into the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint.
That investment turned into a $1,080,000 payday on Saturday at Santa Anita when the California-bred Dancing in Silks survived a four-horse blanket finish to post a thrilling nose decision over fellow long shot Crown of Thorns in the six-furlong Sprint.
Dancing in Silks followed fellow Cal-bred California Flag into the Breeders' Cup winner's circle Saturday and gave his entire team, including trainer Carla Gaines and jockey Joel Rosario, their first Breeders' Cup victories.
Kinakin said Dancing in Silks gave him the confidence to supplement into the Sprint after he won all three of his starts, including the Cal Cup Sprint Handicap, since returning from a seven-month layoff this summer at Del Mar.
"I waited until after the Cal Cup to talk to Carla and see how the horse was doing," said Kinakin, 48, who specializes in herbal respiratory health. "He's trained well, been strong and healthy, and most important I have confidence in my horse."
Gaines said she actually tried talking her owner out of supplementing Dancing in Silks into the Sprint.
"I tried to discourage him to put up that much money," Gaines admitted. "The horse was doing tremendous, he had really matured and was doing so much better than last year, but I was concerned about him dumping all that money against a field that included horses like Zensational and Gayego. But he was determined to do it. He said, 'No, you have to have the power of positive thinking,' and wanted to go. So at that point, I said 'Let's go,' and it's been fun ever since. Especially now."
Dancing in Silks benefitted from a perfect trip after breaking very alertly under Rosario, who rated Dancing in Silks in fourth position behind the surprising pacesetter Cost of Freedom. Dancing in Silks angled out five wide entering the stretch and rallied strongly from between horses to narrowly outfinish the 15-1 Crown of Thorns.
Cost of Freedom, who was scratched by the stewards on advice from the track veterinarians on the morning of the 2008 Sprint, disposed of early pursuers Fatal Bullet and Zensational leaving the turn and held on determinedly through the final furlong before finishing a head behind Crown of Thorns. Gayego rallied belatedly along the rail to finish another nose back in fourth.
Zensational, the 9-5 favorite, broke last from his inside post, recovered to race within easy striking distance down the backstretch, steadied briefly from tight quarters on the turn, but lacked the necessary response down the stretch. He finished fifth and was followed in order by Fatal Bullet, Fleeting Spirit, Capt. Candyman Can, and Join in the Dance.
Dancing in Silks covered the distance in 1:08.14 over a fast track and paid $52.60.
"We were very lucky today," Gaines said. "We drew a great post with all the speed down on the inside, and the race unfolded like I dreamed it would happen, except I'd rather have won by a little more."
Victor Espinoza, who rode Zensational, said: "He broke a little better than usual but got bumped hard when we passed the gap, and it was just too much for him after that."
BREEDERS' CUP SPRINT RESULTS
Santa Anita Park, Saturday, November 7