INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 22, 2011)—Favored American Story led virtually throughout in her return to California, winning a $71,500 optional claimer Friday night at Hollywood Park.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc. and trained by Bob Baffert, who also saddled runner-up Crisis of Spirit, American Story took the lead shortly after the start, was joined on the outside by her stablemate for most of the trip, then asserted her superiority in the final eighth of a mile. Her margin of victory was 2 ½ lengths.
Second in the Remington Park Oaks at Remington Park in Oklahoma and the Harry Henson Stakes last month at Sunland Park in New Mexico in her two most recent starts, American Story is now 3-for-3 over synthetic surfaces.
The 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper and the Meadowlake mare Holiday Runner had won a pair of races over the Polytrack last summer at Del Mar prior to her Friday victory over Cushion Track.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, who has been aboard for each of her wins, American Story, the 3-5 favorite, paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10.
Crisis of Spirit, who was making her first start around two turns since she finished 10th in the Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap on turf last Oct. 17, paid $3.60 and $2.40. The show price on Makoma was $2.60. Lea the Punisher and Gumption completed the order of finish. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.36
In winning for the third time in five outings, American Story increased her earnings to $159,200.
In its second day of existence, the Player’s Pick 5 had a sizable handle increase. The 50-cent minimum wager, which had a pool of $103, 291 Thursday, handled $184,217 Friday night. The Player’s Pick 5 is available every racing day on the first five races.
Racing resumes Saturday. Post time is 1 p.m.
Nine of the 10 races make up the 12th California Gold Rush. The richest event is the $150,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California bred 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track.
There will be a Hollywood Park sweatpants giveaway. The item will be available per paid admission while supplies last.
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