INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 13, 2011)—War Pilot was primed after a layoff, scooting clear in the closing yards to win the $58,328 allowance feature Friday night at Hollywood Park.
Trained by Mike Pender for owner B J Wright, the 3-year-old War Front ridgling out of the With Approval mare To Be Approved ran past favored Vaundell in his first start since defeating maidens in a turf route here last Nov. 6.
The 5-1 third choice in the field of six, War Pilot, who was ridden by Martin Pedroza, paid $12.20, $3.80 and $3. He ran the six furlongs on grass in 1:08.96 while prevailing by 1 ½ lengths.
Vaundell, who got the lead briefly after tracking longshot pacesetter Caught a Flyer, returned $2.20 and $2.10 as the 3-5 choice. Caught a Flyer, who finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Vaundell, paid $3.60 to show. Sammartino, the 4-1 second choice, was fourth, then came Shediak and Markyg.
A $60,000 purchase at Barretts in March, 2010, War Pilot won for the second time in five starts. He’s earned $65,570.
Although he was unplaced with Shediak, jockey Tyler Baze did win three times Friday evening. Baze took the opener with first time starter Miss Ambition, the fourth on Hunter Creek and the eighth aboard Los Bomberos.
Racing resumes Saturday. Post time is 1 p.m.
The main event on the nine race card is the $150,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap. A Grade II at 1 ½ miles on turf, the Murray has a field of five after the Friday scratch of Restless Soul. Defending champion Acclamation will face Falcon Rock, 2010 Hollywood Derby winner Haimish Hy, All Saint and Buenos Dias. The Murray goes as the third.
Between the second and third races, Hollywood Park will honor Michael Baze with a moment of silence. The leading rider at the Spring/Summer meet in 2007, Baze, 24, died May 10 in Kentucky.
Members of the local jockey colony wore black arm bands Friday night in Baze’s memory and will do so again Saturday.
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