HOLLYWOOD PARK : Super May Proves His Versatility, Wins the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap
Regarded primarily a turf specialist, Super May won earlier this year in the slop at Santa Anita.
Sunday at Hollywood Park, the 4-year-old Super Concorde colt also showed he can handle a dry track, providing trainer Richard Mandella with several options in the coming months.
Ridden perfectly by Robbie Davis, Jack Kent Cooke’s California-bred beat 35-1 shot Charlatan III in the final furlong to win the $211,600 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap.
Successful in seven of his 16 lifetime starts, Super May, the fifth choice at 8-1 in the 12-horse field, won by a head in 1:40 4/5 for the mile and a sixteenth.
It was the second stakes and first Grade I victory for Super May, whose last triumph on a fast main track had come Jan. 21, 1989.
“Knowing how tough the turf races are going to come up here with Golden Pheasant, Steinlen and Prized, I looked at the nominations to this race and I thought it would be quite a bit easier than running against them,” said Mandella, who won the Wilshire Handicap two Sundays earlier with 16-1 shot Reluctant Guest.
“He’d won three races on the dirt before and he’s just a better horse this year, period. So I thought he had a chance of handling the job.”
Super May has lost only once in six 1990 starts. He was second to Shining Steel in the Shoemaker Handicap April 29.
“He had lots of little problems as an early 3-year-old,” said Mandella. “In the four to five months he was off, he developed physically and mentally and is a better horse.”
Davis has ridden Super May seven times and has five victories and two seconds.
“The pace was real strong (22 3/5, 45 3/5 and 1:09 3/5 for the first six furlongs) and my horse was going along just as comfortable as can be,” Davis said. “I was right about where I wanted to be turning for home because I wanted to get the jump on Lively One (the 2-1 favorite) before the quarter pole.
“He fired well just like he always does. When I was running head and head (with Charlatan III) I had all the confidence in the world in him because he’s just as game as can be. He’s a very nice horse to ride.”
Charlatan III, winless since 1988, was two lengths clear of Lively One, who had beaten him in Golden Gate’s Kensington Handicap two weeks ago.
Bruho was fourth, followed by Stylish Winner, Santangelo, No Marker, Hollywood Reporter, Payant, French Stress, Swing Shift and Silent Prince.
Horse Racing Notes
According to Bob Selvin of Handicapper’s Report, anyone betting $200 to win on horses breaking from the outside post in one-turn races would, through Saturday, show an $11,000 profit. Letters Of Love and Duckling Park each won from the outside Sunday. . . . Timeless Answer ran the fastest six furlongs of the meeting when he won the seventh, a $60,000 overnight handicap, in 1:08 3/5. Black Jack Road, the 6-5 favorite, was eliminated at the start when he broke several lengths behind the field. The Kennedy Road gelding was acting up in the gate when the latch was sprung.