SANTA ANITA : D’Hallevant Waits, Wins in Palos Verdes
D’Hallevant did something unusual in the $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap on Saturday at Santa Anita.
He won, thus ending a streak in which 13 different horses had won the stakes for older sprinters since last winter’s El Conejo.
A 5-year-old son of Ogygian, D’Hallevant became the first repeater in rallying to win the Palos Verdes. He also had taken the Pat O’Brien last Aug. 20 at Del Mar.
With Corey Nakatani holding him farther back early than he had ever been in his 23-race career, the 5-1 shot took advantage of the extremely fast pace (21 seconds for the first quarter and 43 3/5 for the half-mile), took the lead early in the stretch and went on to beat 9-5 favorite Cardmania by two lengths in 1:08 2/5 for the six furlongs.
It was the seventh victory for the Florida-bred, who races for owner Haras Santa Maria de Aras and trainer Ron McAnally, and proved how much more effective he is on dirt than on turf. He has five victories in 13 starts on the main track.
“Usually, he lays a little closer, but there was a lot of speed in there,” McAnally said. “I looked up and saw the half in 43 3/5 and I knew we had a shot at it.
“He runs well fresh and he always gives 110%. He’s not a very big horse, but he always gives his best.”
Still looking for his first victory since returning from an injury last fall, Cardmania also benefited from the fast fractions and finished nearly three lengths ahead of Subtle Trouble. Isitingood, making his stakes debut, was wiped out at the start, dropped far back but rallied to be fourth, a half-length behind Subtle Trouble.
Even though he has lost his last five, Cardmania is consistent. The 9-year-old gelding has been in the money in 45 of his 72 races.
“We really had no excuse,” Eddie Delahoussaye said of the runner-up. “The only thing that I didn’t like was that the winner kind of drifted out. My horse kind of got intimidated. He’s a little flighty about things. I don’t believe I would have beaten the winner anyway, though.”
Nakatani knew early on D’Hallevant would be tough.
“He’s starting to know what it’s about now,” Nakatani said. “He’s relaxing, and he’s doing what he needs to do to win a race. Ron just told me to ride him with confidence. He told me not to worry about where he’s placed because he’ll come running. I said, ‘all right’ and he did come running.”
Making her first start as a 3-year-old after a big 1994, Serena’s Song is the 8-5 favorite in the $100,000 Santa Ynez Breeders’ Cup Stakes today at Santa Anita.
Rested since she beat Urbane by a nose in the Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 17, Serena’s Song’s victory that day was her fourth in 10 starts, and she was beaten by only a head by stablemate Flanders in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Nakatani will again ride Serena’s Song for trainer Wayne Lukas, who will also be represented by Ocean Cat in the field of five that will run seven furlongs.
The 2-1 second choice--and possibly the favorite by post time--is Call Now, who finished second to Serena’s Song in their last meeting in the Oak Leaf.
However, that race was at 1 1/16 miles and Call Now seems much more at home sprinting. In four one-turn races, she has three victories and a second. Alex Solis will ride the filly, who has two bullet workouts since her one-length victory in the Pasadena on Dec. 31.
Even if Serena’s Song doesn’t win the Santa Ynez today, owners Robert and Beverly Lewis will already have had a good weekend.
Valid Wager, their 3-year-old colt, won the $75,000 Hutcheson Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by Martin Pedroza and trained by Mike Mollica, the 9-5 second choice was never far off the pace set by 11-10 favorite Mr. Greeley most of the way, then came away, despite a final furlong in 14 1/5 seconds, to win by 3 1/4 lengths.
Valid Wager, the son of Valid Appeal, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23 2/5 for his fourth victory. He will remain in Florida and run in the Fountain Of Youth on Feb. 18.
Mr. Greeley, who had won two in a row for trainer Nick Zito, finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Don Juan A.
Horse Racing Notes
Trishyde, who has been plagued by splint problems, has been retired and will be sent to Kentucky, possibly to be bred to Seattle Slew at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway. A 6-year-old Nureyev mare, Trishyde finished her career with six victories in 16 starts and nearly $480,000 in earnings. She was a well-beaten fourth as the favorite in her last start, the San Gorgonio Handicap on Jan. 14. “Seattle Slew’s book is full, but my contact back there said he’d try everything possible to get her on the schedule,” trainer George Vogel said. . . . Alex Solis will ride Top Rung in Saturday’s La Canada Stakes, replacing Gary Stevens, who leaves Wednesday to begin riding in Hong Kong. . . . The probable field for the $500,000 Strub Stakes a week from today: Wekiva Springs, Dare And Go, Dramatic Gold, Colonel Collins, Strodes Creek and College Town. . . . Paseana, who might return for next Sunday’s Santa Maria Handicap, worked a mile in 1:41 1/5 Friday morning.