Inglewood Handicap : Al Mamoon and a Bluegrass Band Hit Wrong Notes for Irish Invader
Five Kentucky-bred runners took on the Irish invader, Hegemony, in Sunday’s $107,900 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park.
The Bluegrass-bred crowd proved too much for the import from the Emerald Isle, as Al Mamoon and the quartet from Kentucky defeated the favored Hegemony, who finished last in the six-horse field.
Hegemony’s disappointing finish ended the brown colt’s three-race winning streak. Prior to Sunday’s 46th running of the Inglewood, Hegemony had been undefeated in the United States this season, with victories in three West Coast outings, including the All-American Handicap at Golden Gate.
“His performance really surprised me,” jockey Darrel McHargue said of Hegemony. “He didn’t run well at all. In the first part, he acted like he wanted to run, but then about the 5/8 pole, he stopped. We know he can run more than that.”
Best of Both jumped out to the early lead in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, followed closely by Hegemony. Into the first turn, The Noble Player outraced Hegemony for second and continued to move up on Best of Both, running second by a neck. Hegemony faded to fourth.
Into the stretch, The Noble Player, advanced well along the rail to take the lead in front of a charging Swoon. Al Mamoon, began to rally quickly outside the leaders, running head and head with The Noble Player before overtaking him to win by a neck in a time of 1:40 1/5.
Hegemony, in close contention near the rail for almost six furlongs, fell back quickly on the final turn to trail the pack.
“He loves the turf,” said Al Mamoon’s jockey Eddie Delahoussaye. “His action is much better on the turf than it is on the dirt. I thought I would get up in plenty of time. When McCarron started chirping to his horse (The Noble Player) and he didn’t drift off, I knew I had a chance.”
Al Mamoon, carrying 116 pounds, paid $8.20, $4.60 and $3.40 to win. The Noble Player paid $3.40 and $3.00 to place and Swoon paid $3.20 to show.
The remainder of the field in order of finish was Val Danseur, Best of Both and Hegemony.
Al Mamoon, the son of Believe It out of Lady Winborne, by Secretariat, has won 5 of 14 starts and has career earnings approaching $265,000.
The chestnut colt has started only one other time on the turf this season, in the Arizona Downs Handicap at Turf Paradise March 24. In that race, Al Mamoon broke the course record with a four-length victory in a time of 1:42 2/5 for 1 1/16 miles.
But Al Mamoon’s other starts this season have been fairly impressive, but not good enough to reach the winner’s circle. He ran fourth in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 19 and third behind Precisionist and Greinton in the San Bernardino Handicap on the dirt in April. He was runner-up to Lord at War in the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita in February.
Although Al Mamoon’s trainer, Bobby Frankel, was in New York Sunday with Bowling Green Handicap winner Shirannpour, he accurately predicted the outcome of the Inglewood.
“Bobby said that Laffit (Pincay on Best of Both) and Chris (McCarron on The Noble Player) would probably be out in front, and to just sit in third and wait,” said assistant trainer Humberto Ascensio, who saddled Al Mamoon. “That was just about how it worked out. I think Bobby thinks this is a much better horse on the turf, but I don’t know what he will start in next.”
Al Mamoon gave Delahoussaye his first first Inglewood victory, and Frankel, his second. Frankel won the Grade III event in 1979 with Johnny’s Image.
Delahoussaye was clearly pleased with his first Inglewood win.
“I’ve been working him in the mornings, so I know all about Al Mamoon,” he said. “And he ran his race, today.”
Horse Racing Notes
In Sunday’s other feature at Hollywood Park, the $48,900 Regal Rumor, Avenger Mist with jockey Chris McCarron, held off Sales Bulletin for a victory in a time of 1:22 1/5. Avenger Mist, Sales Bulletin and high-weighted Force of One vied for the lead along the backstretch in the seven-furlong contest. Force of One faded into the pack in the stretch as Avenger Mist overtook Sales Bulletin to win at the wire by a head. . . . Wayne Murty says that Semillero will start in the $500,000-guaranteed Hollywood Gold Cup next Sunday. The Chilean-bred Semillero worked a mile in 1:38 3/5 Friday, a move missed by official clockers, according to Murty. . . . Trainer Jerry Fanning does not rule out the possibility of starting Kings Island in the Gold Cup if the field comes up short. . . . Magnificent Lindy’s five-race win streak (including the La Troienne and Jersey Bell Stakes) was broken with a fourth-place finish behind Mom’s Command in Saturday’s Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park. . . . Premiership worked five furlongs in :59 Sunday morning in preparation for the $50,000-added Hollywood Express.