INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 24, 2012)—Jockey Garrett Gomez made it two graded stakes wins in less than 24 hours, guiding 13-10 favorite Den’s Legacy to victory in the $100,000 Generous (video) Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The Generous was the first of a pair of Grade III races for 2-year-olds on the second day of the Turf Festival.
Later in the afternoon, 11-1 shot Travesura wired eight rivals under jockey Tyler Baze in the $100,000 Miesque (video) for fillies.
Owned by Westrock Stables and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Den’s Legacy saved ground throughout, found a seam along the rail to rally in the stretch and went on to win by a half-length over 7-2 second choice Rising Legend.
A son of Medaglia d’Oro out of the War Chant mare Sunshine Song, Den’s Legacy completed the mile in 1:36.32. The victory was his second in seven starts and increased his earnings to $161,350. He paid $4.60, $3 and $2.40.
The win was the third for Baffert in the Turf Festival and his second in the Generous – he won with Mountain Rage in 2001 – and continued a hot streak for Gomez. The rider won four races Friday, including the Grade II, $250,000 Citation Handicap with Data Link.
Saving ground while 18-1 outsider Dancin Upside Down set the pace with fellow longshots Christopher Street and Counting Days in close pursuit, Den’s Legacy accelerated when called upon, ending a mild case of seconditis for the Florida bred. He had been the runner-up in the Zuma Beach Oct. 8 and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Preview Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
“I knew this horse would go through wherever I pointed him,’’ said Gomez, who also won the 2007 Generous with The Leopard. “He’s pretty handy that way. He was hitting the hole that wasn’t there yet.
“When the hole opened up, I told him, ‘let’s go.’ I just didn’t want to go from zero to 100 as fast as I could. I kind of pushed the gas pedal down and he kicked on. I didn’t want to get into him any more than I needed. I didn’t think that (Rising Legend) could get to me.’’
Mike Marlow, Baffert’s assistant, thought the Generous was Den’s Legacy most impressive performance.
“When he turned for home and a hole opened up, he was right there quick,’’ said Marlow. “(Gomez) just asked him and he gave him a quick burst.’’
Making his first start for Hronis Racing LLC and trainer John Sadler after winning two of six in his native Great Britain, Rising Legend rallied from last to finish 1 ¼ lengths in front of 5-1 shot Shining Copper, who was extremely reluctant to enter the starting gate. Rising Legend paid $4.40 and $3.40 while the show price on Shining Copper was $4.40.
One Firm Cat, Tree of Life, Under Review, Counting Days, Christopher Street, Dancin Upside Down and Ekahi completed the order of finish.
A winner against maidens in her turf debut Oct. 12 at Santa Anita, Travesura stretched out successfully, holding off 9-1 shot Pussycat Lips and 5-2 second choice Flashy Ways.
Trained by Jeff Mullins for Val-U-Chem Inc., the daughter of Limehouse and the Tale of the Cat mare Tempestra covered the mile in 1:37.01 while winning by a half-length.
Third and fifth in two starts over synthetic, Travesura won by 3 ¾ lengths at about 6 ½ furlongs in her initial try on grass before her Miesque surprise.
Pushing her bankroll to $95,600, Travesura paid $24.80, $8.40 and $6.20.
“I wasn’t really expecting to be on the lead,’’ said Baze, who had teamed with Mullins a week earlier to win the On Trust Handicap with longshot Killer Bear. “If they let me go easy, I’m going to take it. The plan was to lay third or fourth. I really thought she could route after her last race.
“I knew she would be tough today. This is a nice filly. Bigger and better things maybe.’’
Pussycat Lips, an Irish bred making her first start in the United States, just missed giving Hronis, Sadler and Gomez a Saturday stakes sweep. The Holy Roman Emperor filly flew late between horses to defeat Flashy Ways, who was returning after finishing 11th of 14 in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, by a neck.
Pussycat Lips returned $10.20 and $5.60. The show price on Flashy Ways was $3.40.
The disappointment in the Miesque was 9-10 favorite Premier Steps. The Irish-bred, who was making her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown after finishing in a dead heat for second in a Group III in France in August, never got involved. She checked in sixth under Julien Leparoux.
“We got bumped pretty bad after the start and she never picked up the bit,’’ said Leparoux. “The first part of the race, I had nothing, but she finished pretty well in the stretch. I think she’s a little green. I think she will be OK.’’
Prior to the Generous, Awesome Gem, the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup winner, was paraded and made his final trip to the winner’s circle where he was joined by trainer Craig Dollase, jockey David Flores, groom Baltazar Marroquin and partners in the ownership group (West Point Thoroughbreds) that campaigned the gelded son of Awesome Again.
Retired earlier this year at age 9, Awesome Gem won 11 of 52 starts and earned $2,881,370. He will remain with Dollase at Betfair Hollywood Park as a stable pony.
Racing resumes Sunday. Post time for the final day of the Turf Festival is 12:30 p.m.
The two signature events of the Festival will be offered – the $250,000 Matriarch for older fillies and mares at one mile and the $250,000 Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles. Both are Grade I events. The Matriarch is the fifth of 10 races while the Derby is the ninth.
There is also a Fans’ Choice giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last. Items include Betfair Hollywood Park fedoras and shot glasses honoring Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another.
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