INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 13, 2012)—Three weeks after a gate-to-wire victory against maidens, Alpine Luck repeated in similar style Saturday in the $150,500 Hollywood Juvenile Championship (video) at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Able to get away with a pedestrian 23.05 opening quarter of a mile, Alpine Luck had enough left to hold off challengers to his inside and outside in the stretch en route to a half-length win. The final time for the six furlongs over Cushion Track was 1:11.44.
Now 2-for-2 under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens after beginning his career with consecutive third-place finishes in May, Alpine Luck pushed his earnings to $146,784 for owner-breeder Heinz Steinmann and trainer Mike Harrington. He paid $11.60, $5.80 and $3.80 as the 9-2 fourth choice in the field of seven.
The victory by the California-bred son of Lucky J.H. and the Swiss Yodeler mare I Can Yodele was the second in the Juvenile – following Swiss Yodeler in 1996 – for Steinmann and Harrington.
Stevens, who ended his retirement in January, earned his fifth win in the Juvenile, but first since K.O. Punch in 1997. His other victories came with Hilco Scamper (1985), Deposit Ticket (1990) and Hennessy (1995).
“I wasn’t concerned being on the lead with him,’’ said Stevens. “Last time (Harrington) told me to ride him like a route horse, but he got a flyer leaving there and was on the lead.
“He got a quick break today and he was flicking his ears back and forth down the backside. He actually reminded me a lot of my first winner (Hilco Scamper) in this race.
“I was just playing with (Ontology) the other day. I could have won by six, so I had quite a bit of confidence going in. I actually wanted a horse in front of him just to teach him. I really do think he wants to go a route of ground.’’
Harrington indicated Alpine Luck would stretch to 6 ½ furlongs in the Grade II, $150,000 Best Pal Aug. 4 at Del Mar.
“I keep kidding (Stevens) because I tell him to ride him like a route horse and he keeps going to the front,’’ said Harrington. “I told him, ‘You never listen.’ He said he was going (23.05) and had no choice.’’
Second, 1 ½ lengths behind Alpine Luck in his career debut June 22 for Reddam Racing LLC and trainer Simon Callaghan, Ontology completed the exacta again Saturday after a ground-saving trip under jockey Rafael Bejarano. He paid $4.60 and $2.80.
Willie B Awesome, the 5-2 second choice and runner-up to impressive debut winner Kobe’s Back in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial June 15, was third, a nose behind Ontology and a head in front of Solid Wager. The full brother to multiple graded stakes winner Willa B Awesome returned $2.40 to show.
Edwin Maldonado, who rode Solid Wager, claimed foul against Martin Pedroza, who was aboard Willie B Awesome, for alleged interference on the backstretch, but it was quickly dismissed by the stewards.
Completing the order of finish were a trio of first time starters – Bond Holder, Carson’s Ten and Knock Em Flat, who didn’t break alertly as the 2-1 favorite.
Two races earlier, favored She’s a Tiger remained perfect in two starts with a three-quarters of a length victory in the $150,500 Landaluce Stakes (video).
Shipped to Southern California after a nine-length debut win June 22 at Pleasanton, the 2-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat and the Cahill Road mare Shandra Smiles battled outside of 8-1 shot South Sound for the early lead, drew clear with an eighth of a mile to go, then held off 15-1 outsider E Equalsmcsquared in the closing yards under jockey Frank Alvarado.
Trained by Jeff Bonde for a partnership that includes Mark DeDomenico LLC, Allen Aldrich, Lisa Hernandez and Stuart Downey, She’s a Tiger completed the six furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:12.04. The final time was the slowest of 49 renewals of the Landaluce at the distance.
A $150,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale last year, She’s a Tiger, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Smiling Tiger, has earned $105,650. She paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10 as the 3-5 choice.
“She broke sharp and I just let her go to the lead,’’ said Alvarado. “I was being patient with her. By the three-eighths I could feel the pressure on the inside and I felt somebody coming on the outside, but I wasn’t worried. I knew what I had.’’
A decisive winner against $25,000 maidens May 18 at Lone Star Park in Texas, E Equalsmcsquared finished one length in front of 5-1 shot Pleasant Miss and returned $8.40 and $4.80. The show price on Pleasant Miss, the runner-up in the Cinderella Stakes June 15 in her first start for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, was $2.80.
Perched, the longest shot in the field at 28-1, Gagaoveryou, On the Backstreets and South Sound completed the order of finish.
Copyright © 2009-2014, Hollywood Park. All rights reserved.