Photo: Hollywood Park
Los Angeles Lakers stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol had a heartbreaking
introduction to thoroughbred ownership Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Siempre Mio, the California bred both NBA greats had
purchased an interest in at a Lakers charity auction April 24, was defeated by
a nose in his first start for his extremely famous owners.
Bidding for his second win in a row for trainer Doug O’Neill
and a partnership that also includes Santa Anita’s chief executive officer Mark
Verge, Siempre Mio, a 4-year-old son of Dixie Union, quickly established the
lead under jockey Joy Scott, maintained a clear advantage into the stretch,
fought back bravely when challenged, but ultimately lost the photo to 3-5
favorite Valkyrie Missile. The final time for the six furlongs over Cushion
Track was 1:10.80.
Ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, Valkyrie Missile
became the first three-time winner of the Spring/Summer meet with the narrow decision
in the $12,500 claimer that was the first of nine races on Father’s Day.
Siempre Mio’s effort Sunday was also his last in the bright
gold silks that featured a Laker emblem and purple cap for the rider.
The gelding, who has won two of six, was claimed by Donkey
Island Racing LLC, a partnership managed by Alex Solis, Jr. and a client list
that includes New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and trainer Mark
Glatt. There were five other claims for Siempre Mio.