INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 30, 2012)—A powerful stretch run carried Jeranimo to an 8-1 upset in the Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile (video) Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
This came some 90 minutes after a 10-1 surprise by Camp Victory in the day’s other Grade I, the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap (video).
By virtue of his third win in four starts over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf course, Jeranimo earned himself an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be run Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
Additionally, as part of prevailing in the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’’ event, the pre-entry and entry fees will be waived for Jeranimo and owner B.J. Wright will receive a $10,000 travel allowance.
Victimized by a slow pace when the beaten choice in the Grade III San Francisco April 28 at Golden Gate Fields, Jeranimo, who trailed almost the entire journey, got much quicker fractions (23.59, 46.40 and 1:09.81 for six furlongs) to chase Saturday and responded when called upon by jockey Garrett Gomez.
Trained by Mike Pender, the 6-year-old Congaree horse completed the distance in 1:33.97 while winning by 1 ¼ lengths.
Out of the Jeblar mare Jera, Jeranimo has won eight of 28. The $180,000 payday made him a millionaire. The Florida bred, who paid $19.60, $8.40 and $4, has now banked $1,068,400.
“This is a hard trying horse,’’ said Gomez after his first Shoemaker win. “He and I get along pretty well. We had a good trip today. We just wound him up and made one little run with him.
“It was the right kind of race to do that. He’s been training really well. He actually ran a winning race last time and just had a little bad luck. I just let him find himself early on in the race and he came home like I thought he would.’’
The Shoemaker Mile completed a four win day for Gomez, who also took the first with Grumpy Small Mouth, the fifth with Swift Eagle and the seventh with Jolly Days.
Wright was happy Jeranimo was reunited with Gomez, who had ridden the bay to victory in the Grade II Citation Handicap last Nov. 26 in their most recent collaboration before Saturday.
“(Pender) is in Europe,’’ said Wright. “He and his wife took a vacation. We have the home field advantage now. This is a “Win and You’re In’’ and the Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita. I like the home field advantage (for the BC Mile Nov. 3). And we have Gomez. It can’t get much better than that.
“He’s just a great race horse. He’s had some rides where the jockey didn’t know him well, but Garrett seems to ride him really well. We’re really happy with this jockey.’’
Suggestive Boy, a three-time Group I winner in his native Argentina, was second in his United States debut for Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, finishing a half-length in front of pacesetter and 17-10 favorite Little Mike. Mr. Commons, the 2-1 second choice, was a neck back in fourth.
Winner of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 5 at Churchill Downs, Little Mike received some early pressure from longshot Liberian Freighter, battled gamely in the stretch, but couldn’t match the top pair nearing the finish.
Suggestive Boy, who, like the winner, was 8-1, returned $9.40 and $6. The show price on Little Mike, who finished third for the first time in his 18-race career, was $3.
“This is a serious horse,’’ said Joe Talamo of the runner-up. “He definitelyt need the race, coming off a layoff. But to do that in a Grade I like that, he’s going to be a real nice horse.’’
Corporate Jungle, Dubai You X Y Z, Hudson Landing and Liberian Freighter completed the order of finish.
One day after undergoing successful surgery to remove a brain tumor, trainer Mike Mitchell, watching via computer from the intensive care unit at USC Medical Center, received a get well present when Camp Victory upset The Factor in the Triple Bend.
Saddled by Mitchell’s longtime assistant Phil D’Amato, the 5-year-old Forest Camp gelding rallied outside The Factor and a tiring Smiling Tiger into the stretch and swept past for a 3 ¼ length victory. The final time for the seven furlongs over Cushion Track was 1:22.75.
Claimed for $40,000 by Mitchell for Roger Featherston, Gordon Jacobsen and Tom Miller Feb. 13, 2011, Camp Victory won for the third time in 10 races for his current connections. Two of the victories have been in stakes. The Virginia bred, who is out of the Clever Trick mare Victory Trick, captured the Grade III Los Angeles Handicap – after the disqualification of Amazombie – in 2011 prior to his Triple Bend surprise.
Overall, Camp Victory, who was ridden by Talamo, has won eight of 23. He’s earned $517,986.
No worse than second in three starts at the Triple Bend distance, Camp Victory paid $22.60, $7 and $3.60.
“There was a tear or two coming down,’’ said D’Amato of the emotional win. “Mike did all the work. I just had him in maintenance mode. Mike’s always loved this horse and picked him out to claim.
“It was like a six way shake the day we got him. The rest is history. Ill be calling them (Mike and wife Denise) shortly. I’m sure he’s elated. This is just unbelievable. I loved the position we were in the whole time.
“I’ve been with Mike for seven years now. He’s like my father. He took me under his wing and taught me everything.’’
Denise Mitchell said she was allowed to bring a laptop into the ICU so her husband and daughters McCall and Shea could watch the race.
“It was crazy here,’’ she said. “We were all huddled around (the computer). Mike came out of the surgery fine and he’s doing very well. In fact, he’s sitting in a chair right now and isn’t in any pain. That (Camp Victory’s win) was just amazing.’’
The win was the second in the Triple Bend for Talamo, who also prevailed with Bilo in 2007.
“There was definitely a little extra emotion there at the wire,’’ he said. “Winning for Mike like that is unbelievable. This horse runs his race every time, but he doesn’t get there quite enough because he’s always running against a bias.
“It seems like every time there was a speed horse, they would just keep going. For once everything worked out on paper like we thought it would.’’
Making his first start since finishing sixth in the $2 million Dubai Golden Sheehan March 31 at Meydan Race Course in the United Arab Emirates, The Factor suffered his initial defeat in five races at seven furlongs.
After breaking quickly under leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, the 4-year-old gray quickly dispatched of early challenger Italian Rules, shook off 3-1 second choice and defending champion Smiling Tiger, who entered 3-for-3 over Cushion Track, but could not contain the winner.
The Factor, who finished 5 ¼ lengths clear of 10-1 shot Mobilized, returned $3.20 and $2.40 as the 9-10 choice and 123-pound top weight. The show price on the California bred Mobilized was $4.60.
“He just got a little tired,’’ said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert of The Factor. “He needed the race. I think he’ll move forward off this.’’
Racing will resume Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates at Betfair Hollywood Park will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The feature event is the $68,000 Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap at six furlongs on turf. Eight were entered, including 123-pound highweight and 2010 CashCall Futurity winner Comma to the Top. The Kerlan is the seventh of nine races.
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