INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 19, 2011)—Irish Gypsy capped a big day for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Martin Garcia, winning by 1 ¼ lengths as the 13-10 favorite in the $76,050 Desert Stormer Handicap Sunday at Hollywood Park.
The one length victory for the 5-year-old daughter of Hennessy and the Relaunch mare Rayelle was the third on Father’s Day for Baffert and the fourth for Garcia.
With 17 days remaining in the Spring/Summer meet, Baffert holds a 24-23 advantage over Mike Mitchell in the trainer’s race.
The quadruple for Garcia, who rode all three of Baffert’s winners Sunday, was the his second at Hollywood Park. His other four win day locally was Nov. 7, 2006.
Owned by Mike Pegram and John G. Sikura, Irish Gypsy won for the fifth time in 12 starts and pushed her earnings to $239,420. She completed the six furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:09.67.
The victory was the second in a row for Irish Gypsy, who was bred in Kentucky by Jerry and Ann Moss. She had captured the Valid Expectations May 30 at Lone Star Park. The bay has not been worse than second since finishing fifth in an optional claimer Aug. 27, 2009 at Del Mar.
Never too far off the pace set by All the Love and Warren’s Blossom, Irish Gypsy moved outside into the stretch, ultimately gaining the lead with about a sixteenth of a mile to run.
Giving Baffert his second Desert Stormer win – the other came with My Miss Storm Cat in 2006 – Irish Gypsy paid $4.60, $2.80 and $2.20.
Warren’s Blossom, who had a clear lead with a furlong to go, saved the place by a half-length over Fund Raiser, the other Baffert entrant. Warren’s Blossom returned $4.60 and $3. The show payoff on Fund Raiser was $3.20.
Washington Bridge, the 3-1 second choice, was fourth and All the Love faded to last. U R All That I Am was scratched.
“She’s been running really well and improving so much,’’ said Garcia, whose other victories for Baffert were on 2-year-old first timer Night Tide in the second and Toro Bonito in the third. “I had a really good position outside where she could relax and not have any pressure. She was just galloping out there just waiting go. When I asked her to go she just took off.’’
One race before the Desert Stormer, Sway Away won in his return to California, edging 6-5 second choice Da Ruler to win a $52,000 allowance.
Cutting back to seven furlongs after finishing 12th of 14 in the Preakness May 21 at Pimlico, the 3-year-old son of Afleet Alex and the Seattle Slew mare Seattle Shimmer won by a neck under Rafael Bejarano. The final time over Cushion Track was 1:21.74.
No worse than second in four starts around one turn, Sway Away, who is owned by a partnership that includes Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace and trained by Jeff Bonde, won for the second time in seven outings. The $31,200 payday increased his earnings to $157,800.
Favored for the first time since he finished second behind J P’s Gusto in the Best Pal Stakes last Aug. 8 at Del Mar, Sway Away paid $4.40, $2.20 and $2.10. Da Ruler returned $2.80 and $2.10. The show price on Sahara Sky, who finished 2 ½ lengths behind Da Ruler, was $2.40. Price and Big Wags completed the order of finish. Clinton was scratched.
In addition to Garcia’s four wins, jockey Joe Talamo had three, scoring with Mr. Saturdaynight in the first, Sammy’s a Runnin’ in the fifth and Schiapparelli in the ninth. The first and last race winners were for trainer Mike Puype.
Bejarano tops the jockey standings with 42 wins, three more than Joel Rosario and Talamo. Garcia is fourth with 27 victories.
Racing resumes Thursday. Post time is 1 p.m.
The Hollywood Park Casino continues to remain open for dark day simulcasting Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Admission is free.
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