INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 10, 2010)—No better than third in his four most recent starts, Moonlark turned things around in a big way Friday at Hollywood Park.
Teaming for the first time with jockey Rafael Bejarano, the 3-year-old Gone West colt dominated his five rivals in the day’s fourth race, a $42,080 optional claimer.
In the process, Moonlark, who is owned by Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable LLC and trained by Bob Baffert, ran the fastest 5 ½ furlongs of 2010 at Hollywood Park. The Kentucky bred, who is out of the Phone Trick mare Laptop, completed the distance over Cushion Track in 1:02.66. The record is 1:02.09 established by Gray Black N White Dec. 5, 2007.
Able to make the lead early along the inside, Moonlark disposed of A Lil Dumaani early in the stretch and kicked clear. He’s now 2-for-10 after the 6 ¼ length victory. Moonlark, who has earned $74,218, has collected both of his wins at Hollywood Park. The first came June 12 when knocking off maidens by 3 ¼ lengths.
The 5-2 third choice, Moonlark paid $7.80, $3.80 and $2.20. Stoneside, the 8-5 favorite, returned $2.80 and $2.20. He finished a half-length in front of 2-1 second choice A Lil Dumaani, who paid $2.20 to show.
Galleta Monstruo, away last, gained fourth, 1 ¼ lengths behind A Lil Dumaani, then came Mensa Heat and Locksley Hall.
Racing continues Saturday. Post time is 12:30 p.m.
The highlight of the card is the $300,000 Hollywood Starlet. A Grade I for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, the Starlet is the ninth of 10 races. Approximate post time is 4:35 p.m.
Turbulent Descent, undefeated in two sprints for trainer Mike Puype, Darley Debutante winner Tell a Kelly and Sharp Cat Stakes heroine May Day Rose top the field of eight.
Earlier in the afternoon, Cost of Freedom will seek his fifth win in nine tries over Cushion Track in the $55,000 Miles Tyson Stakes. Cost of Freedom, who has won the California Cup Sprint and Vernon O. Underwood Stakes by a combined eight lengths in his last two races, will face Square Deal, El Scorpio, Lt. Hopeful, Bamaha Breeze and Quick Enough. The Miles Tyson goes at five furlongs.
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