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Voodoo Dancer Steps to It

Times Staff Writer

For the fourth time in as many meetings, Dublino was under the wire before Megahertz in Saturday’s $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park.

However, all it got the 4-year-old Lear Fan filly and even-money favorite in the 38th running of the Grade II was second money.

Dublino couldn’t hold off Voodoo Dancer in the final eighth of a mile as that one made another successful trip to California for the Green Hills Farm and trainer Christophe Clement.

The 5-2 third choice in a field reduced to five after the scratch of Tates Creek, Voodoo Dancer and jockey Corey Nakatani prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 2:00.80 for the 1 1/4 miles on the turf.

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A 5-year-old daughter of Kingmambo, Voodoo Dancer won for the 10th time in 19 starts, with this being only her second race of 2003. She had finished third in the Beaugay Handicap on May 3 at Aqueduct, but the Grade II was a perfect prep for the more lucrative Beverly Hills.

This was the second victory in three starts at Hollywood Park for Voodoo Dancer. As a 3-year-old, she won the Flawlessly locally and was third, beaten a length by Astra, in last year’s Gamely Breeders’ Cup Handicap in Inglewood. She also won the Palomar Handicap last Sept. 8 at Del Mar.

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Ipi Tombe, the 2-5 favorite, didn’t disappoint in her U.S. debut, running her win streak to eight with a handy victory in the $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap at Churchill Downs.

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The margin of victory in 1:47.70 for the 1 1/8 miles on turf was only a half-length, but the 5-year-old mare, who was bred in Zimbabwe, was never asked for her best from jockey Pat Day. Trained by Elliott Walden for owners WinStar Farm, Team Valor and Sumark Partners, Ipi Tombe has won 12 of 14 and is scheduled to make her next start in the Diana Handicap, a Grade I, on July 26.

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Making her first start for trainer Bobby Frankel after being purchased privately by owner John Amerman, Spoken Fur took control into the stretch and went on to a 5 1/4-length victory in the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

A winner of three consecutive races in Kentucky for former trainer Austin Smith, the 3-year-old Notebook filly and 9-2 fourth choice had never competed in a stake before Saturday and now is a Grade I winner. Unable to win in her first four races at Keeneland, Calder and Gulfstream Park, she completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.41 under jockey Jerry Bailey.

Yell, the 7-5 favorite, was a troubled second, three-quarters of a length in front of 5-2 second choice Final Round.

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Heckle, the 5-2 second choice, led start to finish to win the $110,200 Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park. Owned by Dogwood Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, the 2-year-old Hennessy colt completed the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.70. Ridden by John Velasquez, Heckle, who is two for three, won by 3 1/4 lengths over 9-1 longshot Adage. Best To Be King, the 6-5 favorite on the strength of a maiden victory at Churchill Downs on May 24, finished sixth in the field of seven under Bailey.

A race after the Tremont, Bossanova, the 7-10 favorite, dominated five rivals in his first start for trainer H. James Bond in the $117,000 Mike Lee Stakes.

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Making his first start in a race restricted to New York-breds, the 3-year-old son of Pine Bluff ran the seven furlongs in 1:22.93 while winning by 13 1/4 lengths. Edgar Prado rode for owners Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez.

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Starrer, who took advantage of Azeri’s absence earlier this year to win two Grade I races at Santa Anita, has been retired because of ankle problems.

Owned by George Krikorian and trained by John Shirreffs after beginning her career with Dave Hofmans, the 5-year-old Dynaformer mare finished with six victories in 20 starts and earnings of $1,043,033.

A two-time winner of the Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park, Starrer won the Santa Maria Handicap on Feb. 16, then returned, in what would be her final race, to win the Santa Margarita in March.


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