INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 26, 2011)—Rebounding after a subpar effort in the Gamely Stakes May 30, Malibu Pier won the $98,000 Beverly Hills Handicap with a pace pressing trip Sunday at Hollywood Park.
One race after the Beverly Hills, 13-1 shot Woebegon was an easy winner of her debut, so there will be a Pick 6 carryover of $111,940 when racing continues Thursday. Post time is 1 p.m. The Pick 6 begins in the third race.
In a field reduced to four after Streamline Baby and First Settler, who got loose prior to the start, were scratched, Malibu Pier tracked the newly-blinkered Restless Soul for most of the journey, then took over the lead with a little more than a sixteenth of a mile remaining, ultimately prevailing by 1 ¾ lengths.
The victory in the Grade III was the sixth in 11 starts for the 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly out of the Lomitas mare Blue Moon.
Owned by breeder B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm LLC and trained by Carla Gaines, Malibu Pier earned her third graded win of 2011. She had previously won the Santa Ana Stakes and Santa Barbara Handicap, both Grade II’s, during the Winter/Spring meet at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Brice Blanc, the 7-5 second choice paid $4.80 and $2.20. There was no show wagering after the late declaration of First Settler.
Cozi Rosie, the 9-10 favorite who had finished three lengths in front of Malibu Pier when third as the 19-10 choice in the Grade I Gamely, was second, a nose better than Restless Soul. Timezone was the distant trailer, 13 ¼ lengths behind Restless Soul.
With Joel Rosario aboard for the first time, Cozi Rosie did have excuses for her third consecutive loss as the favorite. She was off a step slowly, then clipped the heels of Restless Soul in the opening strides.
Owned by breeders Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Sadler – who had combined with Rosario to win the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks Saturday with Zazu – Cozi Rosie returned $2.10 to place. A six-figure wager to show had been placed on Cozi Rosie prior to the scratch of First Settler.
Completing the 1 ¼ miles on turf in 2:01.01, Malibu Pier increased her earnings to $407,200. She is now 2-for-4 over the Hollywood Park grass. Her other victory came versus maidens at six furlongs in her career debut last July 15.
“It was a beautiful trip,’’ said Blanc after his third Beverly Hills win and his second in a row as he’d scored a year earlier with Turning Top. “It turned out the way I planned it on paper.
“I was hoping (jockey) Joe (Talamo on Restless Soul) would go, like he did with her in the Santa Barbara. She settled down real nicely for me today and just kind of picked it up.
“I thought I could outkick Joe’s horse. I was more worried about Cozi Rosie getting the jump on me. When Joe picked it up on the lead, I went right on with him and I just tried to make the same move I did in the Santa Barbara. She just drew away from them.’’
Rosario was happy Cozi Rosie returned unscathed.
“(Restless Soul) dropped over immediately after the break and then I clipped heels,’’ he said. “Sometimes when they do that they can grab a quarter or something. You never know, but she came back good. She felt OK, so I just let her find her stride. The winner just had too easy of a trip.’’
Before racing resumes Thursday, the Hollywood Park Casino will be open for dark day simulcasts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is free.
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