INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 28, 2010)—Jockey Garrett Gomez made a splash in his return to Southern California, rallying from last aboard 11-1 shot Haimish Hy to win the $250,000 Hollywood Derby.
After spending nearly eight months riding primarily in Kentucky and New York, Gomez, although still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury he suffered in a Churchill Downs spill Nov. 4, collected his 12th Grade I victory of 2010 while collaborating for the first time with Haimish Hy.
Owned by a partnership that includes trainer Art Sherman, Zvika Akin and Richard and Sy Goldstein, the 3-year-old Ecton Park colt out of the Equalize mare Tifonica picked the right time to become a graded stakes winner.
The victory was the third in four races on turf for Haimish Hy, whose maiden win came 14 months ago against $32,000 claimers at Golden Gate Fields.
Now 5-for-10 with earnings of $287,900, Haimish Hy completed the 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.20. The Derby was the fifth and final race of this year’s Turf Festival.
Favored Sebastian Flyte had some traffic woes in the stretch while the winner was in the clear on the outside en route to his neck victory.
Despite the problems, Sebastian Flyte, who did gain the advtange briefly in the final sixteenth, was second by a head at 7-5 in a race dominated by closers.
Juniper Pass, a 10-1 outsider making his initial appearance in a graded event, was third. New York invader Citrus Kid did the best of those who were close to the early pace. The Lemon Drop Kid colt, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano, finished fourth, a half-length back of Juniper Pass.
“I’m still a little sore and I was pretty much using my left hand more than my right hand, but I felt if I had to use my right hand I could,’’ said Gomez, who has seven Turf Festival victories. He is tied with Eddie Delahoussaye for fourth on the all time list. Corey Nakatani leads with 14, followed by Alex Solis (10) and Chris McCarron (9).
“My specific instructions were to keep him on the outside. I knew the pace wasn’t going to be real strong and I thought I would play it by ear and stay inside for as long as I could. He really wasn’t all that comfortable down there, so I swung him out turning for home and moved him from behind those horses. His heart got big on him and he came home really well for us.’’
Haimish Hy, who was 31-1 when he won the El Cajon Stakes over the Del Mar Polytrack Sept. 3, paid $25.80, $8.20 and $4.80. Sebastian Flyte returned $3.60 and $2.40 and Juniper Pass paid $3.80 to show.
The victory was the third in a Grade I for Sherman, all at Hollywood Park. The trainer, who will turn 74 Feb. 17, also won the 2006 Triple Bend Invitational Handicap with Siren Lure and the 2007 Citation Handicap with Lang Field.
Making her first start for new connections, Neversaidiwassweet remained undefeated in California with a victory in the $100,000 Miesque Stakes.
Forty-five days after a gate-to-wire score over maidens in her first outside Kentucky, the 2-year-old Eurosilver filly out of the Storm Creek mare Surging Storm was forced to employ different tactics to become a graded stakes winner.
After a slow beginning, Neversaidiwassweet saved ground throughout under Bejarano, moved into contention on the backside and around the turn, angled out for the stretch run and nailed Holiday for Kitten.
Improving to 2-for-4 with earnings of $86,370, the Maryland bred ran the one mile on turf in 1:35.88. The victory margin was a half-length.
Purchased privately by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for owner John Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable, Neversaidiwassweet, the 2-1 second choice in the field of seven, paid $6.80, $3.60 and $2.60.
“She didn’t show me any speed today because she broke really, really slow,’’ said Bejarano after his first Miesque win. “I had to change my game plan because I thought I was going to be on the lead easy. After the first turn all I could do was stay behind and make one big run.’’
A maiden winner at Churchill Downs Oct. 31 for owner-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Wesley Ward, Holiday for Kitten returned $4.20 and $2.80. Cloneylass, the 8-5 favorite who finished 2 ¼ lengths behind the runner-up, paid $2.20 to show.
Earlier in the afternoon, Dance With Gable ($9.80) earned his fourth win in eight races on turf, wiring five opponents in the $71,130 Wild Harmony Stakes.
Joe Talamo rode the 6-year-old Dance Floor gelding for a partnership that includes trainer Mike Machowsky. Dance With Gable completed the six furlongs in 1:08.48 while winning by 1 ¼ lengths. He’s won 11 of 26 overall and earned $357,135. Afleet Ruler, the 5-2 favorite, was second, one length in front of My Summer Slew, who lost for the first time in three races on the Hollywood Park grass.
Racing resumes Wednesday. The track will be open for live racing Wednesday-Sunday through the conclusion of the meet. The Autumn season wraps Dec. 19.
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