INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 14, 2012)—In the Stars, the 13-10 favorite, ran down pacesetter Kune Kune in the closing yards to win the $53,050 feature (video) Friday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Given a ground-saving ride by jockey Corey Nakatani, the 4-year-old Brazilian bred filly split the eventual runner-up and third place finisher Plaza de Indias inside the final sixteenth of a mile to prevail by a half-length.
Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella for owner Alessandro Arcangeli, the daughter of Romarin and the Dance Bid mare Miss Dance completed the mile on turf in 1:36.12.
The victory was her second – both on grass – in four starts in the United States. She’s won three of 10 in her career while earning $139,119.
Never higher than 9-5 since joining the Mandella stable, In the Stars, who was a distant fourth behind eventual Bayakoa Stakes winner Lady of Fifty in the Palm Springs Handicap over conventional dirt Nov. 1, paid $4.60, $2.60 and $2.60.
Stretching out after a nose win at about 6 ½ furlongs over the Santa Anita turf in her U.S. debut Nov. 4, Kune Kune, the 9-2 third choice, had a sizable advantage through the first five furlongs, gamely fought back when challenged, but weakened slightly late. She paid $5 and $3.80. Plaza de Indias, who finished a half-length behind Kune Kune, returned $3.20 to show.
Jolly Days, Gem of Soul, Secret Cove, Cayanna and Minds Eyes, the 4-1 second choice, completed the order of finish.
With two days remaining in the Autumn meet, Edwin Maldonado holds a 26-21 lead over Martin Garcia in his bid for a first riding title in Southern California.
A native of Puerto Rico, Maldonado, who turned 30 Dec. 1, tripled Friday. After sweeping the early double with 2-1 favorite Leaving New York and 13-1 shot Atticlude, the first winner for trainer Alerino Caceres, Jr. since 1996, Maldonado returned to take the sixth with Dawn’s Charm.
The 3-1 second choice in a field of seven 2-year-old maiden fillies, Dawn’s Charm quickly established the lead and was never menaced, rolling to a 10 ¾ length victory. The fourth place finish of Sweet Sense, the 2-5 favorite, triggered some sizable show prices.
A gray daughter of Hard Spun trained by Jeff Bonde for owner Michael House, Dawn’s Charm paid $8, $3.80 and $6.80. My Looloo returned $8 and $14.60 while the show payoff on Mezzanotte was $25.80. Of the $47,517 wagered to show in the 6 ½ furlong race over Cushion Track, $36,732 was bet on Sweet Sense.
The only other jockey with more than one win Friday was Rafael Bejarano. He picked up third race winner Insideonoutside when Garrett Gomez was off his mounts due to illness for a second consecutive day and also won the fifth with favored No Silent. Bejarano has 19 victories at the meet, leaving him tied for third with Joe Talamo.
Racing will resume Saturday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Track gates will open at 10 a.m.
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.
The field of 11 includes a quartet – Carving, Den’s Legacy, Really Mr Greely and Title Contender – from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, undefeated New York shipper Violence and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up He’s Had Enough.
The 10-race card also includes the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, a Grade II for older horses at 1 ½ miles, and the second career start of Eblouissante, a half-sister to 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, who was an impressive debut winner Nov. 16 for trainer John Shirreffs.
Eblouissante will face four opponents in the fourth race, a $48,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track. The Turf Cup goes as the seventh and the CashCall Futurity is the ninth.
The Pick Six will feature a guaranteed pool of $150,000. If the pool reaches $200,000 – a figure easily exceeded the first five Saturdays of the Autumn meet – there will be $1 food and drink Happy Hour specials at Whittingham’s Pub.
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 2013 Toyota Prius courtesy of Toyota of Orange.
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