INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Nov. 21, 2009) — Lightly-raced American Lion established himself as a major contender for next month’s $750,000 CashCall Futurity as he captured Saturday’s $100,000 Hollywood Prevue for his second win in three starts.
American Lion, third behind Bob Baffert-trained runners Macias and Indian Firewater with a furlong to run, moved to the front with ease under Julien Leparoux and held off Get My Fix in the final sixteenth to win by a half-length.“This was a good learning experience for him,” said Kentucky-based Leparoux, who also flew in to ride 2006 Prevue winner Belgravia. “He needs to learn more and he’s still a big baby. That’s good though, because he’s still winning. When the other horse came up to him at the wire, he just took off again. It’s not like’s he’s tired or anything. He’s just a little green, but he’s a nice horse.”
American Lion, a homebred son of Tiznow owned by WinStar Farms, covered seven furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:22.49 while rewarding backers with payoffs of $3.40, $2.80 and $2.60 as the odds-on favorite in the field of eight 2-year-olds.
Get My Fix, a 20-1 outsider with Joe Talamo up, paid $10.80 and $7.80. Seattle Ruler finished third at odds of 29-1 under Martin Garcia, paying $6.80. Macias finished fourth while second-choice Indian Firewater was fifth.
American Lion finished second while making his career debut in September at Arlington Park, then drew away to a 6 ¾-length victory in his second start at Keeneland on Oct. 18. He was shipped west to the barn of Eoin Harty following that effort and will now set his sights on the Grade I Futurity here Dec. 19 when his chief opposition could come from Baffert’s hard-luck Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Lookin At Lucky.
The Futurity has been a stepping stone to six Kentucky Derby winners since 1981.
“This horse is very sensible, but he’s still unfocused,” Harty said. “Coming down the stretch he was flicking his ears and looking at everything. But there’s plenty of time to correct that before Derby Day, if we get that far. At the three-eighths pole I thought he was in trouble. It looked like he was under a ride and going nowhere. But he got to running in the lane.”
The victory, worth $60,000, increased American Lion’s earnings to $95,600.
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