There was a convincing winner of Sunday’s $88,500 Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park. But the horse wasn’t Western Hemisphere, the morning-line favorite, who was scratched because of an undisclosed injury.
Royally Chosen not only replaced Western Hemisphere as the favorite, she went off at 9-10, and David Flores rode her to a three-length win for trainer Bruce Headley. Cyber Slew finished second and Tucked Away ran third in the five-horse field.
A 6-year-old mare, Royally Chosen is the oldest winner of the Cat’s Cradle, first run in 1997. Royally Chosen, running 7 1/2 furlongs in a stakes-record 1:21 1/5 was the high weight with 119 pounds. Western Hemisphere, a 3-year-old filly, would have carried a pound more had she run.
Royally Chosen, whose two wins this year have come at Hollywood Park, moved in front at the quarter pole and had no trouble outfinishing Cyber Slew.
“I was expecting to find myself on the lead,” Flores said, “but [Victor Espinoza on Our Mango and Jon Court on Cyber Slew] sent their horses down the backside.
“So I just let them go, waited and took my time,” he said. “She was much the best.”
Flores also won Saturday’s On Trust Handicap with Anziyan Royalty.
Headley said Royally Chosen would run in the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap on Dec. 12. She’s run only 21 times, winning six.
“So many people wear their horses out before they’re 2,” Headley said. “Now [when a 6-year-old runs], they think they’re too old. Actually they’re in their prime.”
Espinoza’s streak of winning the Cat’s Cradle ended at three. He finished last on Our Mango.
Broadway View nosed out America Alive to win the $171,150 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs. Capo finished third and Cool Conductor, the 11-10 favorite, ran ninth. The first three finishers were 18-1, 11-1 and 25-1, resulting in a $2 trifecta payoff of $5,143.60.
Kent Desormeaux, who rode Perfect Drift to a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will keep the mount for the $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill on Nov. 26. Perfect Drift, winless this year with five seconds, is on an eight-race losing streak.... Desormeaux won Sunday’s second race at Hollywood with the impressive Splendid Blended, who might run back in the Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 19.... Pico Central, the favorite for the Eclipse Award for best sprinter, will face another California shipper, Kela, in the $500,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 27.