INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 28, 2009) — Defending champion Black Mamba, third at the head of the stretch, gradually wore down the leaders and caught Charming Legacy just before the wire to win the $150,000 Beverly Hills Handicap by a head under jockey Garrett Gomez on Sunday at Hollywood Park.
Black Mamba, a 6-year-old New Zealand-bred mare, covered 1 ¼ miles on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:59.72 under high weight of 120 pounds while snapping a five-race winless streak dating to last summer.
“She didn’t make anything easy for me today,” Gomez said. “The fractions were honest enough, but she’s a little one-paced. She’s just kind of steady and long-striding— she just keeps coming. Today I thought she would take it to ‘em somewhere along the way, but she really wouldn’t help out too much. She made my job a little more difficult. But she got the job done and hopefully she’ll get some confidence back from this race.”
Charming Legacy, ridden by Joe Talamo, stalked pacesetter You Lift Me up and took the lead in mid-stretch only to be caught by Black Mamba under a perfectly-time ride by Gomez.
“It took her a real long time to get going today,” Talamo said. “I had to really get into her from the three-eighths pole to the five-sixteenths. Once she got by the leader, she leveled off, but she just got out-run that last bit.”
Black Mamba, owned by Doubledown Stables and trained by John Sadler, won for the fifth time and banked $90,000 to boost her earnings to $808,851. She had not won since taking the Beverly Hills and Clement L. Hirsch in back-to-back starts last summer.
“They’re never easy are they?” Sadler said. “When do I get an easy one? This is the fifth stakes win of the meet and we’re happy. Her style is to close. She doesn’t have a dimension where she can lay up close. This race wasn’t really set up for us. Less horses doesn’t necessarily help us. It did keep us from going wide and the time was good.”
Black Mamba paid $3.40 and $2.20 as there was no show betting in the field reduced to four with the scratches of Hot n’ Dusty and Restless Soul. The place payoff on Charming Legacy was $3.20.
Gomez, Victor Espinoza and Joel Rosario each rode a pair of winners Sunday.
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