Photo: Benoit Photo
A Group I winner in his
native France as a 3-year-old, Lucayan earned his first victory in North
America in the Hollywood Turf Cup.
Ridden for the first time
by jockey Joel Rosario, the 4-year-old son of Turtle Bowl and the Grand
Lodge mare La Vltava was able to run down 7-5 favorite Temeraine by a
half-length despite extremely slow fractions.
Bouncing back from a poor
effort – ninth of 10 – over a yielding turf course in the Grade I
Canadian International Oct. 27 at Woodbine, Lucayan closed into 25.67,
50.14, 1:14.21, 1:38.49 and 2:02.13 splits for his
fourth win in his 15th start.
Owned by Pandora Stud LLC,
Lucayan, who completed the 1 ½ miles in 2:26.14, gave trainer Neil
Drysdale his first Turf Cup victory.
Drysdale has 83 stakes
wins at Hollywood Park, leaving him seventh on the all-time list behind
fellow Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert, Richard Mandella, Ron
McAnally, Bobby Frankel and Charlie Whittingham,
the runaway leader with 222.
Prior to Saturday, Lucayan
had lost nine in a row – three in Europe before coming to this
continent – since his 27-1 surprise in the French 2000 Guineas May 13,
2012 at Longchamp.
The 17-10 second choice in the field of six, Lucayan paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.40. He’s earned $659,858.
“The key to this guy is
getting him to relax and (Rosario) did a lovely job of relaxing him,’’
said Drysdale. “He’s had an unlucky year. He tried to come up the middle
and got stopped (in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap
Aug. 24) and he also got stuck in the (Grade II) John Henry (Turf
Championship Sept. 29 at Santa Anita), then it was just a bog at
Woodbine and he couldn’t handle it.’’
Fifth in the Canadian International where he was 7 ½ lengths in front of Lucayan, Temeraine was a no-excuse runner-up Saturday.
The 4-year-old Arch
gelding tracked outside pacesetter Segway most of the journey, then
couldn’t contain the winner under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who
won his only Turf Cup in 2004 with Pellegrino. Temeraine
returned $2.80 and $2.20 while finishing 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Segway,
who paid $2.60 to show.
Completing the order of finish were Irish Surf, Artic North and Huntsville.