INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 28, 2012)—Trainer Simon Callaghan and jockey Joel Rosario made it consecutive wins in the $250,000 Gamely Stakes Monday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Twelve months after Dubawi Heights won the Spring/Summer meet’s first Grade I, Callaghan and Rosario repeated with Belle Royale, who finished with a flourish to defeat Quiet Oasis, Capital Plan and five others.
The 2-1 second choice in her graded debut, the 4-year-old Irish bred ran the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.84. Owned by Michael Tabor, the daughter of former Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Val Royal and the Brief Truce mare Kahyasi Moll won for the 10th time in 26 starts.
Now 2-for-2 in the United States – she won the American Beauty April 7 at Santa Anita – Belle Royale has earned $358,231.
Callaghan became the first trainer to win the Gamely in consecutive years since the late Bobby Frankel won with Citronnade in 2007 followed by Precious Kitten in 2008.
Meanwhile, Rosario was the first rider to go back-to-back since Kent Desormeaux – Possibly Perfect for Frankel in 1995 and Auriette for Gary Jones a year later.
In her initial try at nine furlongs, Belle Royale was outrun early while Quiet Oasis, Wild Mia and Capital Plan disputed the pace, saved ground into the stretch, found room to split Wild Mia and City to City in the stretch and was up to win by a half-length.
“I wouldn’t say I gave up on the turn (Belle Royale had only one rival beat after six furlongs) because this filly really finishes,’’ said Callaghan. “But the nature of this course has been very speed favoring all meet. Because of that, our plan was to be forward a little more, maybe fourth.
“But she’s just one of those fillies that drops herself in and relaxes. She’s got an unbelievable turn of foot and that is a very big weapon. The big thing with her is she loves firm ground. She’s just very, very honest. She’s one of those fillies who always gives 100 percent and she’s also got a lot of class. I’m very lucky to train a filly as good as this.’’
Callaghan said Belle Royale would be pointed to the $750,000, Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 18 at Arlington Park, a race in which Dubawi Heights finished second in 2011.
“She came home fast, but she was doing it easy,’’ said Rosario. “She just keeps it going. That’s just the way she runs. The last quarter of a mile she really turns it on.
“I think she’s a really nice filly. I don’t see any reason she won’t go longer – a mile and a quarter or a mile and three-eighths.’’
Seeking her second stakes win of the meet after taking the Grade III Wilshire Handicap April 29, Quiet Oasis had the advantage coming to the wire, but couldn’t quite stay for owners J. Paul and Zillah Reddam and jockey Mario Gutierrez.
In her first attempt beyond one mile, Quiet Oasis finished a half-length in front of fellow 6-1 shot Capital Plan. She paid $6.60 and $4.60 while Capital Plan returned $5.20 to show.
Ben Cecil, the trainer of the runner-up, said she could make her next start in the Grade II, $150,000 Royal Heroine Mile July 7.
“She ran really well, but what can you do?’’ he said. “A mile and an eighth might be her limit, but we’ll see. It’s nice to be Grade I placed, but it would be nicer to win it.’’
City to City wound up fourth ahead of Cambina, 2-1 favorite Nereid, Wild Mia and Bauble Queen.
In the race immediately prior to the Gamely, Roman Threat went gate-to-wire for his second victory in three starts.
A 4-year-old gelded son of Roman Ruler and the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, the 9-10 favorite is owned by breeders Patti and Hal J. Earnhardt III. Roman Threat quickly established command over 6-1 shot Centralinteligence and those two didn’t change positions the entire journey.
A meet high fifth stakes victory enabled Hall of Fame trainer Baffert to reach a Betfair Hollywood Park milestone. He has 84 local stakes wins, moving him into a tie with D. Wayne Lukas for fifth on the all-time list. Charlie Whittingham leads with 222.
In providing both Baffert and jockey Rafael Bejarano their first Los Angeles win, Roman Threat, who has earned $123,600, completed the six furlongs in 1:08.57. He paid $3.80, $2.60 and $2.10 for the 1 ¼ length score.“He’s fast,’’ said assistant trainer Mike Marlow. “Rafael said he had so much horse that even in the stretch he didn’t really have to get into him.
“He had a lot of little things wrong when he was two and three. We had to (geld) him because he was tough to handle and wasn’t paying attention to his training.’’
Making only his second start in graded company, Centralinteligence wound up 1 ½ lengths clear of defending champion Camp Victory and returned $5.20 and $3.40. The show price on Camp Victory, whose victory in 2011 came due to the disqualification of Amazombie, was $3.
In his initial outing as a 7-year-old, Rail Trip, the winner of the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup, finished willingly for fourth. It was the first race in California for the Jump Start gelding since he was second as the 2-5 favorite in the 2010 Gold Cup.
Ron Ellis, who trains both Centralinteligence and Rail Trip, was happy with the performance of both geldings.
“(Centralinteligence) gave (the winner) a run,’’ he said. “That time on this track is smoking. In his second start, (Roman Threat) made Amazombie run all out and that’s a pretty good horse for crying out loud. Everything worked out well. He just wasn’t good enough.
“I’m giddy at Rail Trip’s performance. For not having sprinted in four years and the winner getting an easy first quarter mile, I thought it was just awesome. (Jockey) Jose (Valdivia, Jr.) said he was going real smooth. With that race under his belt, we’ll probably go seven furlongs the next time and then stretch him out.’’
Completing the order of finish were M One Rifle, Sway Away and Dancing in Silks, who has lost 11 in a row since his upset win in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The 7-year-old was eased in the final eighth of a mile while more than 28 lengths behind the winner.
Earlier in the afternoon, apprentice jockey Vinnie Bednar, 20, gained his first two victories at Betfair Hollywood Park, winning the fourth with 5-1 shot Miles Long Gone and the sixth with 7-1 outsider Charlie’sboywins.
A great nephew of the late trainer Lou Carno, Bednar, who had previously ridden at Turf Paradise, was 0-for18 at the Spring/Summer meet before his Monday double.
Racing resumes Thursday. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The Hollywood Park Casino will be open for dark day simulcasts Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is free. Simulcasts begin at 10:10 a.m.
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