INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 17, 2012)—Danderek led throughout to win for the first time in the United States in a $57,940 optional claimer Thursday (video) at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Owned by Vegas Racing Team LLC and trained by Francesco Santella, the 6-year-old Fantastic Light gelding was ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr. and completed the 1 ¼ miles on turf in 2:02.05.
Out of the Grand Lodge mare Maureena, Danderek has won five of 22 and earned $72,502.
Able to get away with pedestrian fractions (25.46, 50.14, 1:14.24 and 1:38.31 for the mile), the 5-1 shot had more than enough left in the final two furlongs to hold off the late run of Renegade Storm by 1 ½ lengths.
In providing Santella with his first win of 2012, Danderek, who was making his fourth start in this country, paid $12, $6.40 and $3.60.
If Danderek is going to win back-to-back, the English bred will do so for new connections. He was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Dan Blacker for owners Dan Capen and Gary Margolis.
Never better than third in five previous tries over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass, Renegade Storm returned $6.40 and $4. The show price on Antidote, the 5-2 favorite and the winner’s closest pursuer for most of the trip, was $2.80. He wound up a half-length behind Renegade Storm.
Completing the order of finish were Falcon Rock, who has lost 16 in a row since winning his U.S. debut March 6, 2010, Jairzinho, Erbeia and Ain, the 5-2 second choice.
Jockeys Agapito Delgadillo and Joe Talamo both won twice Thursday. Talamo, who won the second with Whole Enchilada and the fourth with Awe’ Some Kitten, is tied for the lead in the rider standings with Rafael Bejarano. Through 13 days of the Spring/Summer meet, Bejarano and Talamo each have 13 victories.
Delgadillo, who took the opener with Quick Answer and the fifth with Sizzling Gold, has nine wins, leaving him tied for third with Joel Rosario.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won the eighth with favored Visible Marq to extend his lead in the standings. The defending Spring/Summer champ, Baffert has 13 wins, eight more than runner-up Peter Miller.
Racing resumes Friday. Post time is 7:05 p.m.
At the conclusion of the eight race card, a concert starring G. Love and Special Sauce will begin at the North Park.
The approximate start time of the concert is 10:30 p.m.
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