INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 13, 2013)—Mr T Bird, the longest shot in the field at nearly 29-1, completed a Friday double for trainer Mike Puype with a last-to-first victory in the $55,932 feature.
Rebounding after four consecutive off-the-board finishes, the 4-year-old Military gelding lagged well off the quick pace set by Monastic, rallied outside eventual runner-up Holladay Road and won by a half-length under jockey Brice Blanc.
Owned by Three Kings Racing, Mr T Bird, who is out of the Mongoose mare Patient Malory, completed the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.06. He paid $59.60, $21.40 and $12.20 and increased his earnings to $96,510.
The win was the third in 13 starts for Mr T Bird and his second in three tries over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass. The Kentucky-bred won an optional claimer by 2 ½ lengths June 29 in his first race for Puype, who also won Friday’s fifth with Awesome Return.
Holladay Road, a 5-1 shot, finished a half-length in front of pacesetter and 8-1 outsider Monastic, who led for most of the way under apprentice Drayden VanDyke. Holladay Road returned $5.40 and $3.60 while the show price on Monastic was $5.40. Horizontalyspeakin, the 19-10 favorite, checked in fourth. Olympic Blue, Power Foot and Empty Headed completed the order of finish. American Blend was scratched.
A 2-year-old son of Decarchy, Awesome Return provided jockey Joe Talamo with the third of his four wins on the afternoon.
Talamo, who also swept the early double with Chief Lion and Addendum in addition to capturing the sixth with Amanda, moved into a tie with Rafael Bejarano for the top spot in the rider’s race.
With five days left in the final Autumn meet, Bejarano and Talamo both have 27 wins. Martin Garcia is third with 24.
Midnight Hawk, a gray son of Midnight Lute and the Wolf Power mare Miss Wineshine, was an impressive debut winner for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in Friday’s fourth, a $45,250 maiden race for 2-year-olds.
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Pegram, Midnight Hawk is owned by a partnership that includes Pegram, Joel Quenneville, coach of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and Mike Tice, a longtime NFL player and former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
After breaking slowly under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Midnight Hawk moved up quickly to take over the lead, dropped back slightly while stablemate Wynhurst and Snuggley Bear battled, cruised up outside that pair into the stretch and pulled clear in the final eighth of a mile.
The 6-5 favorite against five opponents, Midnight Hawk paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40 while covering the 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:29.26. The margin of victory was 6 ¼ lengths.
In the day’s final race, Amelia Green, a 20-year-old English apprentice, picked up the first win of her career by guiding 7-2 third choice Twin Six to victory in the $8,000 claimer. It was Green’s first mount in the United States.
Racing will resume Saturday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The main event is the $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity, a Grade I for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track.
Topping the field of 13 is a duo – Shared Belief and Tamarando – trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Shared Belief, a gelded son of Candy Ride, is 2-for-2, including an impressive victory in the Grade III Hollywood Prevue Nov. 10 while the California-bred Tamarando is already a Grade I winner, having taken the Del Mar Futurity Sept. 4.
Owned by a partnership that includes television and radio personality Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing LLC, Shared Belief is the 7-2 favorite on Russ Hudak’s morning line while Tamarando is the 4-1 second choice.
The 10-race card also includes the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, a Grade II for 3-year-olds & up at 1 ½ miles, and the Grade III, $150,000 Native Diver Stakes 3-year-olds & up at 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track.
The Pick Six will feature a guaranteed pool of $150,000. If the pool reaches $200,000, there will be $1 food and drink Happy Hour specials at Whittingham’s Pub and Betfair Players’ Lounge.
Additionally, if there is a single perfect ticket in the Pick Six – purchased either on track or through Television Games Network (TVG) – the holder of the ticket will receive a bonus – a new Prius courtesy of Toyota of Orange.
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