INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Backbackbackgone drew away from favorite Wall Street Wonder inside the sixteenth pole to score an impressive 2 1/2-length victory under jockey Rafael Bejarano in the $73,450 Harry Henson Stakes as Hollywood Park opened its 70th Spring/Summer Meet on Wednesday.
Backbackbackgone, the second of two winners on the opening-day program for Bejarano, broke on top and set the pace while making his first start on turf. The victory was the fifth in seven starts for the Florida-bred colt, who covered six furlongs in a stakes record 1:08.16 while paying $6.40, $4 and $2.20.
Position A, who got up in the final strides under Victor Espinoza to snare second money by a neck over Wall Street Wonder, paid $4 and $2.80. The latter paid $2.10 to show.
Backbackbackgone, who won the Golden Bear in his 2009 debut, had not started since finishing tenth in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park in late January.
“The timing just made sense to try him on turf,” trainer Peter Miller said. “We got him back off the layoff and this was the spot we were pointing him to.”
Bejarano, the defending riding champion, will be aiming for his seventh straight Southern California title at the 65-day meeting. He got off to a good start, although he fell two wins behind Joel Rosario who rode four winners on the card.
“Being his first time on the turf, I think it was the best choice to send him because I wanted to keep him out of trouble,” Bejarano said. “He was very comfortable on the lead. He was still running strongly at the end. He didn’t change leads, but he never does. He’s a real nice horse and he’s still learning.”
Backbackbackgone, owned by Gerson Racing, Charleville Stables and John Rogitz, banked $43,830 to raise his earnings to $203,270.
Rosario’s four winners came with Donttellmewhattodo ($4.80) in the second race, Plug Me In ($11.80) in the fifth, Scottish Diamond ($6.80) in the sixth and Ribald ($3.20) in the eighth race. Donttellmewhattodo and Scottish Diamond were both saddled by Doug O’Neill — his only starters on the card.
In the first race of the meeting, veteran Danny Sorenson guided 2-year-old colt Grace Upon Grace to victory by a head over Really Uptown for trainer Walther Solis.
Racing resumes Thursday at Hollywood Park with free general admission, several $1 concession prices and a 1 p.m. post time.
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