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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Amarish, Miss Empire Win 2YO Stakes

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park

In the first of a pair of stakes for 2-year-olds, Amarish followed his blowout maiden victory three weeks earlier with another easy win in the $100,000 Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes.

A gelded son of Scat Daddy and the Awesome Again mare Issues tracked the pace set by longshot Run to Ground while reserved under jockey Edwin Maldonado, easily assumed command around the far turn and drew away from his six rivals.

Owned by Jerry Durant and trained by Jeff Bonde, Amarish, the 7-10 favorite, completed the 5 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:04.55. He’s earned $91,200 for his two victories.

A $200,000 purchase in March at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales (OBS) in Florida, Amarish paid $3.40,

“I didn’t want to be next to the other horse (Run to Ground) because I didn’t want to go too the fast the first quarter. I just stayed to the outside and just let him run his race.

“He’s so big and has such a long stride. I breezed him (three furlongs in 35 3/5 June 12) and he did it with his ears forward. I was really confident.’’

Moreno’s Mine, a 31-1 shot who was beaten almost eight lengths by Amarish when third in his May 26 debut, rallied for second. The Mineshaft colt wound up 4 ½ lengths behind the winner and one length in front of 8-5 second choice Undrafted. Moreno’s Mine returned $13.80 and $4.60.

Undrafted, a first out maiden winner April 26 for trainer Wesley Ward over the Keeneland Polytrack, paid $2.20 to show. The Purim gelding was ridden by Julio Garcia, who was seeking his first win at Betfair Hollywood Park since taking the Radar Ahead Handicap aboard Latin Dancer June 7, 1997.

K Court, Just Call Me Al, Lovmeister and Run to Ground completed the order of finish. Forest Boy was scratched.

A couple of hours after the Proctor, Miss Empire, an 8-1 shot, kicked away from Awesome Annie late to win the $100,000 Cinderella Stakes by 4 ¾ lengths.

A second time starter who had finished fourth in her initial race May 5, the daughter of Empire Maker and the Rajab mare Miss Excitement – the dam of multiple stakes winning sprinter Bordonaro – ran the 5 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:05.

Owned by Gary and Cecil Barber and Kevin Tsujihara and trained by Peter Miller, Miss Empire, who was ridden by Kevin Krigger, paid $19.80, $7.60 and $5. The $60,000 payday pushed her earnings to $63,120.

Defeated five lengths by Unusual Way, who was seventh for Bonde as the 9-5 Cinderella favorite, in her debut at 4 ½ furlongs, Miss Empire clearly relished the additional distance Saturday.

Positioned nicely inside behind the leaders through an opening quarter of 21.92 seconds, Miss Empire angled off the rail entering the stretch, collared the eventual runner-up, gaining the advantage with less than an eighth of a mile to run while drifting out a bit.

Second in all three of her starts, Awesome Annie returned $6.80 and $5. She finished one length in front of 3-1 second choice Tilde. The show price on Tilde was $3.60.

Like Amarish, Miss Empire was purchased at the OBS some three months ago. Her price was $165,000.

“She spooked at the front of the gate when it opened last time and shied and got away slow,’’ said Miller. “She made up some ground going 4 ½ (furlongs) and with the pedigree we thought she’d like the extra distance. Mr. (Gary) Barber and I decided to take a shot in here. She’s a half to Bordonaro and getting black type is big.’’

Awe Golly Molly was fourth, 4 ¼ lengths behind Tilde and she was followed by Awe’ Some Kitten, who disputed the pace with Awesome Annie, Gloryandprayer, Unusual Way, Set’n On Ready and Emotional Kitten.

Zazu and Ellafitz were both Vanity scratches. The former was reportededly “off behind’’ and is scheduled to undergo a nuclear scan Tuesday, according to trainer John Sadler while Ellafitz was declared because of illness.



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