INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 12, 2012)—Cutting back to his best distance, Drill defeated American Act and two other fellow 3-year-olds to win the $98,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (video) Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, the Lawyer Ron colt won for the third time in as many starts at seven furlongs.
A winner of four of six around one turn, Drill, the 6-5 favorite, lifted his earnings $419,710. Out of the Storm Cat mare Cat Dancer, the $300,000 yearling purchase has won four of 11.
Third behind pacesetter American Act and stablemate Gun Boat for most of the trip, Drill and jockey Martin Garcia angled off the rail early in the stretch, then split horses to prevail in the closing yards.
In winning by a half-length, Drill completed the distance over Cushion Track in 1:22.98. He paid $4.40 and $2.80. There was no show wagering.
American Act, who was able to win the Harry Henson Stakes April 26 despite bearing out badly at the quarter pole, returned $3.20 while finishing a half-length in front of Gun Boat. Boompa, the longest shot in the lineup at 7-1, trailed throughout.
This was the second time American Act had been runner-up behind Drill. The two finished a nose apart in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes Feb. 19 at Santa Anita.
“I just talked to Bob on the phone,’’ said assistant trainer Mike Marlow. “He thought (Drill) ran well and Gun Boat might need blinkers, he was hanging a little the last eighth of a mile.
“But I think Drill is just a better horse. It’s a good thing Gun Boat was the other horse or he might not have let him out (when Drill was seeking room early in the stretch). Drill kind of likes a target, just like he got today.’’
The win was the first in the Barrera for both Garcia and Baffert, Three of Drill’s wins have come in tandem with Garcia, including the Grade I Del Mar Futurity last Sept. 7.
“I was just trying to save as much ground as I could,’’ said Garcia, who won two other races with Baffert-trained runners – Eaton Hall (sixth) and Lady Ten (seventh).
“I wasn’t really worried about that other horse (American Act) getting out because he never did that before and I don’t know why he did it that day. But whatever happened, I was ready for it.
“(Drill) was really into the bridle today and we were going so easy.’’
After winning only once during the first eight days of the Spring/Summer meet, jockey Joel Rosario has gotten warm.
Rosario, who has been the leading rider at both the Spring/Summer and Autumn seasons the last three years, won three times Thursday and bettered that with a four win day Saturday.
Two of Rosario’s victories came for trainer Caesar Dominguez – Anna You’re Up in the first and 15-1 shot J Louie in the fourth.
Tied for third in the rider standings with Alonso Quinonez, trailing leader Rafael Bejarano (13) and Joe Talamo (11), Rosario also scored with Valkyrie Missile in the second and Clearance Clarence in the fifth.
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