When Leroidesanimaux arrived from South America last year, trainer Bobby Frankel didn’t know what kind of horse the son of Candy Stripes was.
“All he had done there was break his maiden,” Frankel said of the chestnut’s three-race career in his native Brazil.
Owned by T N T Stud, Leroidesanimaux has more than proven his quality in this country. He made it five victories in six U.S. starts and became a Grade I winner with a half-length decision over 41-1 shot A To The Z and eight others in the $400,000 Citation Handicap on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Leroidesanimaux, the 3-1 second choice, tracked the pace from the inside under jockey Jon Court, angled out for room and prevailed in 1:41.36 for the 1 1/16 miles.
In winning his fifth in a row, the 4-year-old provided Court with his first Grade I win in this country.
“The two post was a perfect spot for him,” said Frankel, who now has 14 Turf Festival victories, more than any other trainer. “I thought there was a chance he would be on the lead, but that’s where the rider comes in. You have to leave it up to them. When you’ve got a speed horse and there’s other speed in the race, you have to let the rider use his judgment.”
A To The Z, a California-bred who has only one win on the grass, finished two lengths in front of Three Valleys, who is also trained by Frankel, then came Mingun, Buckland Manor, Nothing To Lose (the 5-2 favorite and Frankel’s third entrant), Tsigane, Fairly Ransom, Gondolieri and Special Ring.
“I’ve been very fortunate to ride this horse,” said Court, who moved to this circuit from Kentucky earlier this year. “I’ve gotten to know him pretty well and I ride him with respect.
“So far, we haven’t made any mistakes together. Bobby has been good to me with this horse and I’m really grateful and I expressed that.”
Dubleo, the 7-5 favorite, gave trainer Todd Pletcher his second Turf Festival win in as many days when the 2-year-old outfinished pacesetter and 41-1 shot Littlebitofzip to win the $100,000 Generous Stakes. Pletcher had won a division of the Miesque on Friday with Paddy’s Daisy.
In winning for the fourth time in five starts on turf, the 2-year-old Southern Halo colt ran the mile in the rain in 1:37.21 under jockey Corey Nakatani.
Pico Central may have damaged his hopes for an Eclipse award as the nation’s top sprinter after he finished third as the 9-10 favorite in the $350,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.
Hounded through some quick fractions after breaking from the rail, the 5-year-old Brazilian bred was nosed out by 3-1 second choice Badge Of Silver for second in a Grade I won by 12-1 shot Lion Tamer.
Owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Pletcher, who also sent out sixth-place finisher Purge, Lion Tamer trailed for the first half-mile under jockey Jose Santos, then made a powerful run while wide and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He ran the distance in 1:33.46 for his eighth win in 15 starts.
Pico Central, who lost for only the second time in seven races in 2004, wasn’t helped by losing a shoe on his right hind leg during the Cigar.
In two other stakes on the card, heavily favored Sis City won the $200,000 Demoiselle and Rockport Harbor, the 13-10 second choice, remained unbeaten with a neck victory over the previously undefeated and 6-5 favorite Galloping Grocer in the $200,000 Remsen.
Trained by John Servis for Fox Hills Farm, Inc, the 2-year-old Unbridled’s Song was ridden by Stewart Elliott as he won for the fourth time. He ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.88, which was nearly two seconds faster than Sis City in the Demoiselle.