remained undefeated over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf course Sunday with another decisive victory in the $73,850 Round Table Handicap.
Winner of the 2012 Round Table by 4 ¼ lengths, Dhaamer, a 6-year-old gelded son of Dubai Destination, repeated by 2 ¼ lengths for his third victory over the local grass.
Trained by Mike Mitchell for Edward J. Brown, Jr. and Jay Manoogian, the Irish bred, who is out of the mare Arjuzah, covered the 1 ½ miles in 2:26.96 under jockey Garrett Gomez.
The win was the sixth in 17 starts for Dhaamer, who paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 3-5 choice, and pushed his bankroll to $258,682. He’s earned three of his victories in seven races in this country after going 3-for-10 in England.
Returning to turf after finishing sixth in his conventional dirt debut in the Tokyo City Stakes March 23 at Santa Anita – which was also his first race of 2013 – Dhaamer was pacesetter Diamondsdiplomat’s closest pursuer for most of the 12 furlongs.
The chestnut responded willingly to take over with a little less than a quarter of a mile to run, burst away under some encouragement from Gomez and wasn’t seriously menaced in the closing yards.
Lime Rickey, who trailed early, ran on for the runner-up spot as the 5-2 second choice. The 7-year-old gelding returned $2.80 and $2.20 while finishing 1 ¾ lengths clear of Niagara Falls. The show price on Niagara Falls, back seven days after earning his maiden victory, was $2.80.
Completing the order of finish were 5-year-old mare Little Emily, Diamondsdiplomat and Madera Castana, a 6-year-old mare and longest shot in the field at 61-1.
“One of my owners said I was training him too fast and one said I was training him too slow,’’ said Mitchell. “I guess it worked out just right. I was a little worried because I thought he was laying too close.
“But I think (Gomez) knew what he had. He’s just been training so well. I skipped the (Grade II) San Juan Capistrano (April 21 at Santa Anita) just to keep him fresh.’’
Mitchell added the plan is to return in the $100,000, Grade III Sunset Handicap, the closing day feature of the Spring/Summer meet Sunday, July 14. Dhaamer is the defending Sunset champion, winning by 3 ¼ lengths in 2012.
Jockey Edwin Maldonado regained second in the rider standings with three wins Sunday.
Maldonado, who won the second with Swimmin Insunshine, the fourth with Chico Suerte and the fifth with 20-1 shot Smart Striking, has 15 victories through 12 days of the Spring/Summer meet. Defending champion Rafael Bejarano leads with 18. Joe Talamo is third with 14.