INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 1, 2012)—Favored American Lady provided Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert with a milestone victory in the $71,800 Reminiscing Stakes (video) Friday night at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The 4-year-old gray daughter of Stormy Atlantic ran past pacesetter Spectacular Sky early in the stretch and went on to a 1 ½ length decision for her third win in six starts.
The stakes win was a meet high sixth for Baffert, enabling him to take sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list at Betfair Hollywood Park. He has 85 stakes victories, one more than D. Wayne Lukas.
Those ahead of Baffert are also members of the Hall of Fame. Charlie Whittingham leads with 222, followed by Bobby Frankel (149), Ron McAnally (123) and Richard Mandella (103).
Owned by Kaleem Shah Inc., American Lady, who is out of the Rubiano mare Comfort Zone, pushed her earnings to $133,866. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who leads all jockeys at the Spring/Summer meet with eight stakes wins, completed the 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:30.49.
The win was the second in three local appearances for American Lady, who was a $230,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2009. She won a $61,032 allowance at 6 ½ furlongs last June 30.
Top Debutante, the second longest shot in the field at 16-1, rallied along the inside to gain second, 2 ¼ lengths in front of Spectacular Sky. Top Debutante returned $7 and $2.80 while Spectacular Sky paid $2.20 to show.
The Baffert-trained Pink Lollipops, the 2-1 second choice, and Suzettes Friend completed the order of finish.
In absentia, Doug O’Neill, who has 10 training titles at Betfair Hollywood Park, had his first multiple win day of the Spring/Summer meet.
Currently in New York preparing Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another for his bid at history in the Belmont Stakes June 9, O’Neill won Friday’s first race with River Kiss and the third with first time starter Mahogany Ridge.
Through 22 days, O’Neill has seven victories, leaving him tied for third in the trainer standings with Jeff Bonde and Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer. Baffert, the defending Spring/Summer champ, leads with 17.
On the jockey side, Bejarano, who has three riding titles at Betfair Hollywood Park, including the 2010 Oak Tree meet, leads Joe Talamo 28-22.
Racing resumes Saturday. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The feature attraction is the $150,000 Californian, a Grade II at 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track. The field is headed by 2011 Santa Anita Handicap winner and Hollywoo Gold Cup runner-up Game On Dude and recent Mervyn LeRoy Handicap winner Morning Line. The Californian is the eighth of nine races.
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