INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 2, 2009) — Jockey Corey Nakatani capped a three-win day with a perfectly-timed ride aboard 11-1 shot Gorgeous Goose as she caught defending champ Diamond Diva in the final strides to win Saturday’s $100,000 Wilshire Handicap by three-quarters of a length at Hollywood Park.
Gorgeous Goose, owned by Mary Anne Denes and Mary Ellen Woelfel, rallied from sixth with a quarter-mile to run, covering one mile on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:34.54. Odds-on favorite Diamond Diva, making her first start since winning the CashCall Mile here last July, held second by three-quarters of a length over Charming Legacy with Bel Air Sizzle finishing fourth in the field of nine fillies and mares.
The day turned out well for Nakatani, who had been scheduled to ride Square Eddie in the Kentucky Derby, only to have the horses scratched earlier this week.
“Last year we went through a lot of issues health-wise, broken bones and all that good stuff,” Nakatani said of a pair of collarbone injures in 2008. “We’re just trying to get healthy and back on track. I’m feeling good and getting to ride for top outfits again. This filly was training really well for this race and Mike (Puype) was pretty high on her. She’s a really nice filly and today the race set up perfect for her. I wasn’t surprised at all.”
Gorgeous Goose paid $25.80, $8.80 and $5.20 while helping set up a Pick Six carryover of $97,515 on Sunday. Diamond Diva, ridden by David Flores, returned $2.80 and $2.60, while the show payoff on Charming Legacy with Tyler Baze up was $5.20.
Gorgeous Goose, off five months after finishing second in the Harold C. Ramser Handicap in October, banked $60,000 to boost her earnings to $223,574. The win was the 4-year-old’s fourth in 14 starts.
“Corey rode a perfect race,” said trainer Mike Puype, who combined for two wins with Nakatani. “She showed good talent in the race before the layoff when she got beat a nose over at Santa Anita. The race down the hill when she came back was outstanding. In her last race she lost all momentum when she came across the dirt. She skipped wide to the right and lost all chance at that point. The odds were a little inflated today based on that particular situation, but she ran really good today. She had good pace to run at and she ran really well.”
Flores looks for better things for Diamond Diva despite the setback.
“She ran great,” he said. “I thought she was going to pull, but no, she was nice and comfortable. She was on the bridle all the way. I wait and wait and wait as much as I could, but she just got a little tired. She’ll be good to go next time.”Joel Rosario also rode three winners Saturday, giving him eight in the last two days. He leads the jockeys’ standings 17-14 over Rafael Bejarano, who spent the week at Churchill Downs.
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