Lakers fan Lee Searing waited until he thought he had a real nice horse, and it happened to coincide with an injury to his favorite player, Kobe Bryant, so he named his 2-year-old colt, Kobe's Back. And what a debut for the son of Flatter on Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Running in the $100,000 Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes, Kobe's Back started slowly out of the gate in the 5 1/2-furlong race and was last in a field of nine. But he came charging in the stretch under jockey Rafael Bejarano and won by 3 1/4 lengths over Willie B Awesome.
Searing beamed afterward and told the story of how much he and his wife, Susan, love the Lakers and Bryant.
"I've watched him for 17 years," he said. "I knew he'd be back, so we named him, 'Kobe's Back.'"
Bryant is recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon.
Kobe's Back was purchased for $480,000 at the Ocala March sale.