Photo: Hollywood Park
Excellent News welcomed a return to her preferred surface,
easily winning the $65,780 allowance feature Friday night at Hollywood Park.
A troubled fifth on turf in her prior start May 27, the
4-year-old Rahy filly assumed command immediately, relaxed well under jockey
Joel Rosario and was taken in hand late while earning her fourth career
victory. The margin of victory was a very deceptive 1 ½ lengths.
Now 3-for-5 over Cushion Track for owner Kaleem Shah and leading
trainer Bob Baffert, Excellent News, the 6-5 favorite, completed the seven
furlongs in 1:23.55. The win was her fourth in 14 lifetime races and increased
her earnings to $216,844.
Favored for the seventh time in her last 10 starts,
Excellent News paid $4.40 and $2.60. There was no show wagering.
Fashion Trend, the longest shot in the field at 5-1,
returned $3.80. She outfinished Dowhill Diva by 1 ¼ lengths. Lady Sweetness,
the 19-10 second choice, completed the order of finish after the scratch of
With 15 days remaining in the Spring/Summer meet, Baffert
holds a 26-24 lead over Mike Mitchell in the trainer standings. Baffert has
never led a Spring/Summer season. His last local title was at the 2001 Autumn
The win aboard Excellent News was the first of three Friday
evening for Rosario, enabling him move into a tie with Rafael Bejarano for the
riding lead. Both have 43 victories.