Considering Satis’ record, it was a bit surprising the 2-year-old, French-bred colt wasn’t given more respect at the mutuel windows before Sunday’s $112,800 Hoist The Flag Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Granted, he had been competing at some of France’s lesser tracks, but he had won four times on turf, equaling the total of the 11 other members of the field.
Still, Satis was only the fifth choice at nearly 12-1 and paid $25.60 in winning the Grade III race before 18,101.
Last for six furlongs under Corey Black, Satis rallied widest of all into the stretch, accelerated impressively and won going away in 1:35 1/5 for the mile on turf.
In the process, he gave trainer Christian Doumen his first U.S. stakes victory and a quick return on a $150,000 investment. Doumen had bought Satis in France earlier this year, and Sunday’s success was worth $67,800 to his owner, Jean Laurent Andreani.
“I bought him at an auction where we had gone to buy Mister Riv, who was running in the Arc (de Triomphe) the next day,” Doumen said. “We bought Mister Riv, but I saw this little horse and liked him.
“We had to pay a little more money than I thought, but he’s worth it now. He was running in the French bushes, and he had a tough time when he got here.
“He got a temperature the first month. Then, I got him right, and I wanted to keep him fresh for this stake. He kicked in very well at the end. He was flying.”
In beating 14-1 shot What A Spell by 1 1/4 lengths, Satis completed the last quarter in less than 23 seconds.
“I worked him once in the morning and he went nice,” Black said. "(Doumen) told me to try to get him covered up because he’d probably pull, but he didn’t pull. He was kind of timid all the way. The turf was flying and he kept ducking and turning his head.
“I got him in the clear on the turn, and he just kept finding momentum. It just turned into a sprint for him. The way he moved, there weren’t very many horses who were going to outsprint him.”
Able to set slow fractions (23 2/5, 47 2/5 and 1:11 1/5 for six furlongs), What A Spell outfinished 5-2 favorite Ev For Shir by a head for place with Mucho Precious another head back in third.
Making his debut for trainer Bill Spawr, Ev For Shir suffered his first loss in three starts in his initial try on grass, but Alex Solis wasn’t discouraged.
“He’s a nice horse, but he’s still pretty green,” he said. “He will improve a lot. He really doesn’t know what he’s doing. Time will tell, but I think he’s going to turn out to be a real nice horse.”
Wide Colony, the 3-1 second choice who had much trouble when third in his first turf start last month, was never a factor, finishing sixth.
“He didn’t fire at all,” Eddie Delahoussaye said. “He never kicked for me.”
Hollywood Park will conclude its 37-day meeting today with the $85,300 Auld Lang Syne Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.
Flanders Moss, an impressive allowance winner Dec. 8 at the same distance, would have been one of the favorites in the Auld Lang Syne, but he has been scratched. It was discovered he was ineligible for the race, which is restricted to horses who have not won $35,000 at a mile or more since July 23. A 3-year-old Shareef Dancer gelding, Flanders Moss earned $38,000 when winning a race in France Sept. 6.
His ineligibility leaves a field of nine, including two females. Betty Lobelia, a 5-year-old Assert mare, upset Girl Of France in her California debut Dec. 5 for trainer Rick Mettee. She has placed in 18 of 26 starts on turf and has earned more than $436,000. Corey Black will again ride.
The other entrants are Lyphard’s Melody, a filly who went virtually wire-to-wire Dec. 7 for trainer Bill Shoemaker; Dream Of Fame; Intelligently; Davon; Deliorman; Royal Reach; Top Apple and Coat Hanger, a 7-year-old gelding who will be making the 131st start of his career.
Horse Racing Notes
Post time will be 12:30 p.m., a half-hour earlier than usual. . . . Jockey Alex Solis had two winners Sunday, scoring with maiden Alinda in the second and War Commandress in the seventh. He now has 42 winners at the meeting and has clinched second place in the standings behind Chris McCarron. . . . Gary Jones has wrapped up the trainer’s race. Let’s Go Flying’s victory in the sixth was the 15th for Jones, putting him three ahead of Ron McAnally and four up on Bill Spawr.