clever ride by Rafael Bejarano, 6-1 shot Hog’s Hollow ran off with
Friday’s $60,000 Highway 61 Purse at the infrequently run distance of 1 ¼
miles over Santa Anita’s Camino Real Turf Course.
Bejarano, who seems to have developed a special
rapport with the 6-year-old gelding, unexpectedly sent Hog’s Hollow to
the lead, nursed him through six furlongs in a modest 1:14.53 and kicked home
in 2:01.27 to defeat runner-up Highway Bandit by 3 ¾ lengths.
It was the fourth time that Bejarano had ridden
Derrick Fisher’s homebred son of Perfect Soul for trainer Paddy Gallagher
and his third victory aboard the bay gelding to accompany one second.
Otherwise, Hog’s Hollow is winless in 18 career starts.
Highway Bandit, an 11-1 shot ridden by Joe Talamo,
edged Dynamic Host and jockey Joel Rosario by three-quarters of a length for
the place. Falcon Rock, the even-money favorite who had finished second to
Eclipse Award winner Acclamation in last May’s Grade II Jim Murray Handicap,
finished a well-beaten fifth while returning from a two-month freshening.
The winner paid $14.60, $5.80 and $2.80. The prices
on Highway Bandit were $11.40 and $4.60. Dynamic Host, the 9-5 second choice,
paid $2.20 to show.
Hog Hollow’s victory was worth $36,000 and
elevated his career earnings to $166,050 from an overall record of 3-4-3 in 21
On Saturday, Santa Anita presents five stakes races
headed by the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes as part of Sunshine
Millions Day. The 10-race program will have a special early first post at 12