INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 18, 2010)-Like Black Astor a year ago, Marlang led throughout Sunday to win the $100,000 Sunset Handicap, the closing day feature of the spring-summer meet at Hollywood Park.
Trained by Neil Drysdale for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz, the 5-year-old Langfuhr horse out of the Conquistador Cielo mare Marienburg quickly took control, then repelled a challenge from Champ Pegasus in the final eighth of a mile to end a six race losing streak.
Before his Sunday success, the Canadian bred had blanked since taking the Saranac, which, like the Sunset, is a Grade III, on Aug. 31, 2008 at Saratoga.
The victory capped another brilliant meet locally for jockey Joel Rosario. The 25-year-old Dominican Republic native earned his third consecutive riding title at Hollywood Park, including the 2009 autumn meet.
Rosario finished with 79 victories, four more than runner-up Rafael Bejarano. He also tied for second with Mike Smith in stakes successes with six, one fewer than Bejarano.
“He went to the post quiet but he was sweating a little,’’ said Rosario, who also won the Swaps Stakes Saturday with Skipshot. “I sent him to the lead and he got a little tough after that.
“He’s a long striding horse and about halfway through the race he came back to me real nice. That’s why he finished better today. I want to thank all the people here for all the kindness and all the owners here at Hollywood Park for supporting me. Everything worked out real nice.’’
Providing Drysdale with his second Sunset win – the other was with Always First in 2005 – Marlang ran the 1 ½ miles on turf in 2:25.45.
The 2-1 favorite in a field reduced to six after the Sunday morning scratch of Oil Man, Marlang paid $6.80, $3.60 and $3.20 for the one length score. He’s won five of 15 with earnings of $558,212.
Making his graded stakes debut after consecutive grass victories, Champ Pegasus, the 5-2 second choice, returned $3.60 and $3.20.
He finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of Unusual Suspect. The show price on Unusual Suspect, who is winless in eight 2010 starts, was $3.20.
Dynamic Range was 1 ¾ lengths back in fourth, then came Buenos Dias and Great Siege.
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