Ohio will attempt to become only the second back-to-back winner of the prestigious Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) when he runs back in the March 7 turf feature at Santa Anita Park.
The Brazilian-bred gelding posted a 9-1 upset in 2019 when he nosed out favored Catapult in a thrilling renewal of the race, which will be contested for the 62nd time this year.
“He’s coming off a nice win in the same race he won in 2019, the Cotton Fitzsimmons at Turf Paradise,” said Michael McCarthy, who trains the venerable bay for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Bruce Treitman. “He’s doing very well and it’s not like he needs to run every 30 days, so we’ll pick and choose our spots since he’s nine years old.
“But he still has plenty of gas left in the tank and still wants to run. The timing is right and fortunately it’s a Grade 1, so it’s expected to be tough.
“Our horse is doing well; you can’t fault him.”
One challenger Ohio will likely face in the Kilroe is Got Stormy, the 5-year-old mare by Get Stormy defeated males last year in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) and when she was second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The Eclipse Award finalist warmed up with a defeat most recently in Tampa Bay Downs’ Endeavour Stakes (G3).
Ohio was claimed for $50,000 on June 10, 2018 at Del Mar. Overall, he has a 10-5-3 record from 33 starts with earnings of $585,293.
Ga Hai is the only horse to win the Kilroe in consecutive years, in 1975 under Jacinto Vasquez and in 1976 with Fernando Toro up. The trainer was Gene Cleveland.