INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 26, 2010)-A bump into graded company and added distance didn’t deter Turning Top. The Irish bred filly made it four wins in a row, overtaking pacesetter Princess Taylor in the $100,000 Beverly Hills Handicap Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Positioned closest to the leader, who set a slow pace after breaking from the rail, by jockey Brice Blanc, Turning Top, the 4-1 second choice, gained the advantage outside Princess Taylor in the final sixteenth and went on to prevail by one length.
Trained by Simon Callaghan for owner Michael Tabor, the 4-year-old Pivotal filly out of the Cadeaux Genereux mare Pietra Dura has six victories in 15 starts. Her bankroll stands at $171,943 after the Grade III score.
Turning Top, in her first venture beyond 1 1/16 miles in this country, completed the 1 ¼ miles on turf in 2:01.69.
‘’I had this filly (in England),’’ said Callaghan, the son of retired trainer Neville Callaghan and a former assistant for Todd Pletcher. “She won a couple of races for me over there. She loves fast ground, but she really didn’t get the opportunity to show it.
“She’s pretty straight forward this filly. She relaxes and gives herself every chance to get the trip. She has all the attributes to do well here.’’
The win was the second in the Beverly Hills for Blanc. He won with Happyanunoit for the late Bobby Frankel in 2000.
“It was just a perfect trip,’’ said Blanc. “Simon has done a great job with this filly. She’s so relaxed and easy going and just does everything you want.
“She’s got a nice finish. It takes her just three or four strides to get in full gear. Then she just levels out and lays her body down.’’
Turning Top, whose only off the board finish in this country came in her California debut when she finished last on the Pro Ride at Santa Anita on Feb. 5, returned $10.40, $6.60 and $4.60.
Back with females after finishing ninth in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap on April 18 at Santa Anita in her first in the U.S., Princess Taylor returned $13.40 and $10.
The show price on Restless Soul, who finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Princess Taylor, was $5.40.
The disappointment in the Beverly Hills was General Consensus. The 9-10 favorite never menaced, finishing fifth under new rider Rafael Bejarano.
She wound up four lengths behind Turning Top while finishing a head in front of Catsalot, the longest shot in the field at 41-1.
“I was pretty clear in the stretch, but she didn’t show me too much,’’ said Bejarano. “She was a little quiet at the end.’’
Joel Rosario, who didn’t have a mount in the Beverly Hills, continued his hot hand.
He tripled for the third time in the last four days. Since Wednesday, Rosario is 11-for-25.
Tyler Baze and Joe Talamo both had two victories Saturday as the jockey race tightened.
With 14 days remaining in the spring-summer meet, Bejarano leads with 56 wins, three more than Baze and Rosario.
Racing continues Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m.
Scenic Blast, a Group 1 winner in both his native Australia and England, will make his U.S. debut in the $60,000 Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap. Owned by Aussie Raider and trained by John Shirreffs, Scenic Blast will have six opponents in the ungraded race at six furlongs on turf.
Two races prior to the Kerlan, The Usual Q.T., whose biggest win came in the Hollywood Derby last Nov. 29, will make his first start since finishing fourth in the Dubai Duty Free on March 27 at Meydan.
Owned by a partnership that includes breeder Don Van Kempen and trained by Jim Cassidy, the 4-year-old Unusual Heat gelding and the Western Fame mare Lunge will have four opponents in the $55,000 allowance at one mile on turf. Victor Espinoza will ride The Usual Q.T., who has won six of 13 and earned $770,420.
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