INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 24, 2010)—Fifteen days removed from a gate-to-wire surprise in the Arcadia Stakes, Liberian Freighter repeated with similar tactics in the $98,000 Inglewood Handicap Sunday At Hollywood Park.
The longest shot in a field reduced to four after Honour the Deputy and Kelly Leak were scratched, Liberian Freighter immediately took command, relaxed kindly under jockey Martin Garcia, then held on to defeat Ryehill Dreamer and a fast finishing The Usual Q.T.
Owned by Shawn Dugan, the wife of trainer Neil Drysdale, Charles Winner and the Estate of Ed Nahem, Liberian Freighter won for the 10th time in 27 starts and increased his earnings to $733,740.
Bred in California by Nahem’s King Edward Racing Stable, Liberian Freighter is a 6-year-old gelded son of Bertrando and the Slewpy mare Anachristina.
Winning for the fifth time in nine starts over the Hollywood Park turf course, Liberian Freighter paid $9.40 and $4 while completing the 1 1/16 miles in the Grade III in 1:39.70.
Ryehill Dreamer, who finished a half-length behind the winner, paid $4.60 to place. There was no show wagering.
Looking for his third win in four tries on the local grass, The Usual Q.T. finished a neck behind Ryehill Dreamer as the 2009 Hollywood Derby winner made up a lot of ground in the final two furlongs in his first start since Jan. 29. The gelded son of Unusual Heat finished 1 1 ½ lengths in front of 7-5 favorite Jeranimo, who trailed throughout.
“This horse just loves to run,’’ said Garcia. “He’s such a nice horse. If there was more speed, I would have taken him back. I won the Oak Tree Mile (last Oct. 3) with him from six lengths back. He likes this course a lot.’’
A member of Racing’s Hall of Fame since 2000, Drysdale earned his second Inglewood victory. His earlier win came with King of Happiness in 2005.
Cassidy wasn’t displeased with the performance of The Usual Q.T., who had finished second behind Caracortado in the Sunshine Millions Turf when last seen nearly three months ago.
“He had a lot of setbacks since his last race,’’ said Cassidy. “He had a big abscess in his foot and his works were spotty.
“I told (jockey) Victor (Espinoza) I thought those two (Liberian Freighter and Ryehill Dreamer) would go fast up front and I didn’t want him in the mix because I knew he’d need the race. It shows you how much class he has.’’
The Player’s Pick 5 had its largest return yet Sunday when the 50-cent minimum wager, which debuted Thursday, returned $27,647.95 to three perfect tickets.
Consolations with four of five winners were worth $301.20. The Player’s Pick 5, which has a California low takeout rate of 14%, is offered daily on the first five races.
Racing resumes Thursday. Post time is 1 p.m.
Beginning Monday, the Hollywood Park Casino will be open –admission is free – for dark day simulcasting Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the Spring/Summer meet, which concludes July 17. The only Monday exceptions are when there is live racing (May 30 and July 4).
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