INGLEWOOD, Calif. (September 30, 2010)—Leading virtually throughout, favored Unzip Me prevailed in the $100,000 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap Thursday on opening night of the inaugural Oak Tree at Hollywood Park meet.
Trained by Marty Jones for owner-breeder John Harris and Don Valpredo and Per Antonsen, the 4-year-old City Zip filly out of the Arazi mare Escape With Me her third Grade III victory of the year.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the California bred quickly assumed command inside of Terrify early in the Maddy, then repelled a challenge from 13-1 outsider Waveline to win by 1 ½ lengths.
The victory was the ninth in 15 starts for Unzip Me and her sixth in seven races in 2010. Her only loss this year came versus males. She was third in the Robert K. Kerlan Memorial on June 27 during Hollywood Park’s spring-summer meet.
In her first appearance since capturing the Royal North, a Grade III, on Aug. 2 at Woodbine, Unzip Me won for the third time in five starts on the local turf.
The 7-10 choice completed the six furlongs in 1:08.50. The $60,000 prize pushed Unzip Me’s earnings to $484,513.
“She’s just a special horse,’’ said Jones after his first Maddy victory. “This is why you get up every morning, hoping to get horses like this. She’s got everything you need…a lot of talent and a lot of heart.’’
The two-time defending Oak Tree riding champion, Bejarano also won the fifth race for Jones with first time starter a 3-year-old Cee’s Tizzy filly owned and bred by Pamela Zeibarth.
Waveline, who, like the winner, was bred in California, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Bonifacio. Czechers was a nose back in fourth.
Besides Bejarano, the only other jockey to double Thursday evening was Victor Espinoza. The veteran won the second with Harlan’s Tune and the sixth with Universal Peace.
Trainer Julio Canani and John Sadler both had a pair of victories.
Racing continues Friday. Post time is 1 p.m.
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