INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 27, 2012)—For the second day in a row, a Southern California newcomer sprung a stakes surprise at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The culprit Sunday was 13-1 outsider Mega Dream, who shocked 2-5 favorite Mizdirection in the $75,070 Great Lady M. (video)This victory came 24 hours after Wilkinson’s 44-1 stunner in the Grade II, $150,000 American Handicap.
The come-from-behind win came a little more than six weeks after an optional claiming score at Oaklawn Park in her first race for trainer Jeff Bonde.
A 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of the St. Jovite mare Dream Away, Mega Dream was ridden by Rafael Bejarano and completed the six furlongs on turf in 1:08.84. The margin of victory was 1 ¼ lengths.
Transferred to Bonde after being purchased for $40,000 by Barry Arnason, Jerry Durant and Mersad Metanovic at a Keeneland mixed sale, Mega Dream, who paid $28.40, $9.40 and $6.40, earned most of the sale price back Sunday. The $43,530 payday increased her bankroll to $146,585. She’s won four of 11.
Like Wilkinson, Mega Dream is well-traveled. Betfair Hollywood Park was the sixth different track at which she has run, joining Fair Grounds, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Saratoga and Oaklawn.
Mega Dream, who was previously trained by Ralph Nicks, certainly bettered her previous turf effort. The dark bay, who was bred in Kentucky by Nancy Stillman, trailed going a mile last Aug. 20 at Saratoga in her grass debut.
“Since she’s come out here, she’s had some sizzling works on the main track,’’ said Bonde. “I entered her three or four times in an allowance race on Cushion Track and the races didn’t go.
“I saw this race in the (condition) book, so last week I breezed her on turf (five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 May 20) and she went really well on it. I said we should take a chance here because this might work out.’’
Seeking her fifth consecutive win for trainer Mike Puype and a partnership that includes radio and television sports broadcaster Jim Rome, Mizdirection was a no-excuse second.
Settled off the pace by jockey Garrett Gomez early, the gray daughter of Mizzen Mast swung to the outside at the head of the lane, collared pacesetter Bloemer Girl early in midstretch, but couldn’t match the winner in the final sixteenth of a mile. She paid $2.60 and $2.10.
“Everything was going well,’’ said Gomez. “She placed herself well and I thought that any time I wanted to go, I could go. I saw (jockey Joel) Rosario (on 9-2 second choice and eventual fourth place finisher Teroda) getting through on the fence and I told her to go. When I told her to go, she lengthened, but she didn’t quicken.’’
The show price on Bloemer Girl, a California bred who recently returned to her home state after four starts in Louisiana and Kentucky earlier in the year, was $6.60. She wound up a half-length behind Mizdirection.
Racing resumes Monday. Post time for the Memorial Day program is 1 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
In honor of the holiday, active duty personnel – with military identification – and veterans will receive free general admission.
The 10 race card includes the first Grade I – the $250,000 Gamely Stakes – of the Spring/Summer meet. The 1 1/8 mile turf event includes Cambina and Nereid, who finished in a dead heat in the 2011 American Oaks, Capital Plan, Quiet Oasis, Wild Mia, Bauble Queen, Belle Royale and City to City.
The Gamely is the ninth. The eighth race is the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap, a Grade III at six furlongs on Cushion Track. Among the eight entrants are 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip and defending champion Camp Victory.
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