HOLLYWOOD PARK : Timeless Answer Wins It His Way
For most of Saturday, the lead was the place to be at Hollywood Park.
Reversing a trend where inside speed had been at a disadvantage through many of the first 34 days of the meeting, front-runners had all the best of it in the Inglewood humidity.
Somebody forgot to mention the track bias to Timeless Answer.
Last early in the $109,500 Los Angeles Handicap, the 4-year-old Timeless Moment colt saved ground most of the way, swung out for room under Robbie Davis into the stretch and ran down the leaders to win going away.
This was his second consecutive victory at Hollywood Park. Three weeks earlier, he had accelerated late to win an overnight handicap.
A 7-1 shot, Timeless Answer beat Prospectors Gamble by 2 1/2 lengths while covering the six furlongs in 1:08 4/5. He’s now won six of 16 lifetime for owner Ed Friendly and is two for four since joining trainer Ron Ellis’ barn.
“I think he’s just rounding into form now,” Ellis said. “I ran him up a couple of times up north (for two thirds at Golden Gate) and I think it was the shipping and the track being too hard for him. His two races here have been great.
“I’ve wanted to run him a bit farther, but the races just haven’t come up. I knew he was a nice 3-year-old when I got him, but I really didn’t know what to expect. He seems to have gotten a little better with each race.
“I was glad that Olympic Prospect didn’t go in this race and Sam Who is a really good horse on his day. I think we hooked him at a good time when he’s coming off a layoff.”
Sam Who, the 7-5 favorite who hadn’t been out since Dec. 30, lost his best chance at the start.
“He stumbled badly,” Laffit Pincay said of the 5-year-old Lypheor gelding, who wound up third, a neck behind Prospectors Gamble. “He always does something. He always stands perfect, but, then, he always manages to do something wrong.
“I don’t know if he would have beaten the winner, but who knows? He would have finished second. I thought it was a good race for him.”
Davis certainly thought it was another good race for the winner and the jockey seems to get along fine with him. They have now collaborated six times and the results have been three wins, a second and two thirds.
“He likes to settle himself on the backside and we wound up saving ground along the rail,” he said. “Turning for home, he came running at them. He knows where the finish line is, so he finished real strong.”
Black Jack Road, who got the lead briefly in the stretch after battling with Sam Who and Prospectors Gamble throughout, faded to fourth, then came Yes I’m Blue, Coastal Voyage, Sensational Star and Pentelicus.
Two races earlier, Forest Fealty became the fourth horse in the day’s first six races to go wire to wire.
Unable to hold leads in her three previous races at shorter distances, the 3-year-old Baederwood filly held off favored Patches in the $84,200 Railbird Stakes.
Providing Julio Garcia with his third winner of the afternoon, Forest Fealty, the 5-1 fourth choice, took the lead immediately while setting fast fractions (21 4/5 for the quarter and 44 for the half-mile), then gamely withstood Patches, the 2-1 choice, in the final eighth to win by three-quarters of a length. She completed the seven furlongs in 1:21 3/5. It was another five lengths back to Golden Reef.
Owned by Mace, Jan and Samantha Siegel, Forest Fealty has now won three of her 10 starts and she’s only been off the board once.
“We knew she would be on a lead and she was given a bit of a weight advantage,” said trainer Brian Mayberry. Forest Fealty carried 114, eight pounds less than Patches.
“She’d really trained marvelously up to this race and I just told Julio to put her on the lead and let her relax as much as possible and just go with her. Occasionally, these things go the way you think they should go and this was one of those occasions.
“She’s fresh and some of those other fillies have had kind of a rough campaign. I just try to sit and pick spots out and it worked out well this time.”
Pat Valenzuela, who was aboard Patches for the first time, replacing the suspended Gary Stevens, had no real excuses after her win streak was ended at three.
“I thought I had her, but I thought somebody might be pressing her a little more,” he said. “I tried to get to the leader, but she accelerated when (Garcia) asked her. Speed’s just really been holding on this track today. But I thought my filly ran a super race.”
Not surprisingly, Go And Go was a longer price at Hollywood Park than he was in New York for his huge victory in the Belmont Stakes.
A little more familiar to eastern fans who remembered his 22-1 upset in the Laurel Futurity late last year, Go And Go paid $17 at Belmont Park, compared to $24.60 locally. The exacta, coupling him with Thirty Six Red, was also much larger at Hollywood--$134.80 for $2 compared to $98.
Unbridled, who was fourth, beaten nearly 13 lengths, was even-money at both tracks.
Horse Racing Notes
Julio Garcia, who also won the second with Undeniably and the fourth with Mayan Dancer, and Kent Desormeaux were the riding stars Saturday. In his second day back after being involved in the spill in which Chris McCarron broke both legs and an arm, Desormeaux also won three times. He took the opener on Tomocomo, who was making his first start in two years, the third aboard Dime Time and the fifth on Siroccan, who has now won all three of his starts for Gary Jones.
Kentucky Jazz, who was seventh in the Preakness, found the speed-favoring main track to his liking. The Wayne Lukas trainee led all the way in the seventh, a $55,000 overnight handicap for 3-year-olds. Ridden by Alex Solis, he won by 5 1/2 lengths and covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41 3/5. . . . Timeless Answer paid $17.80 to win and earned $64,500 for Ed Friendly while Forest Fealty returned $13.40 and collected $48,950 for her owners.