INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 9, 2013)—Esentepe was successful in her Cushion Track debut, easily defeating Plaza de Indias and three other mares in the $57,000 feature (video) Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Ridden for the first time by jockey Rafael Bejarano, the 2-5 favorite took command from the outset and wasn’t seriously menaced as she won for the first time in her fourth start in the United States.
Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer for owner William Deburgh, Esentepe, a 4-year-old daughter of Oratorio prevailed by 3 ¼ lengths while covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.74.
Out of the Octagonal mare Mythie, Esentepe earned her third win in 20 starts and increased her earnings to $149,984.
This was the second synthetic track start for Esentepe, who had finished third, second and fourth – on turf – in her first three outings for Hollendorfer. The bay, who was bred in Ireland by Peter Kelly and Ms. Wendy Daly, was third over the Polytrack at Kempton in Great Britain April 7, 2012.
Favored for the third time in this country, Esentepe returned $2.80, $2.60 and $2.10.
The win completed a double for leading rider Bejarano, leaving him two victories shy of 3,000 in his career.
The Peruvian native, who has 14 wins at the current Spring/Summer meet, is named on five mounts Friday at Betfair Hollywood Park. His other win Thursday came aboard fifth race favorite So She Dances.
The longest shot in the field at 11-1, Plaza de Indias returned $6.20 and $3.40. She finished 3 ¾ lengths in front of Miss Radiance, who paid $3.60 to show.
Jockey Edwin Maldonado, who won the riding title at the 2012 Autumm meet, combined with trainer Adam Kitchingman for a natural hat trick, sweeping the first three races Thursday.
All of the wins – Bodway in the first, Pleasant Miss in the second and Miceli in the third – were accomplished in gate-to-wire fashion.
Maldonado moved into second in the jockey standings. He has 11 victories, one more than Joe Talamo.
Racing resumes Friday. Post time is 1 p.m.
The 10th day of the Spring/Summer meet also marks the third Fiesta Friday. There will be Mexican food and drink specials between 2-4 p.m. and Gold Club members can enter to win a $100 mutuel voucher.
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