Tale of a Champion
parlayed a ground saving trip into the most
significant win of his career, scoring a 10-1 upset in the $200,250
Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap Saturday at Betfair Hollywood
No better than fifth in five previous appearances in graded races,
the 5-year-old son of Tale of the Cat prevailed by one length over 13-10
favorite All Squared Away in the Grade II.
The victory was the second in a row for Tale of a Champion, who had
wrapped his Winter/Spring meet at Santa Anita with a win over McAllister
Boys and eight others in the March Madness Handicap March 30.
Owned by Kretz Racing LLC and trained by
Kristin Mulhall, Tale of a Champion, who is out of the Seattle Slew mare
If Angels Sang, was ridden by Joe Talamo. It was a Spring/Summer meet
high sixth stakes victory for the jockey.
Positioned on the inside while tracking pacesetter Lucky Primo and
Slim Shadey, Tale of a Champion was angled off the fence into the
stretch, collared Lucky Primo, then held All Squared Away safe in the
closing yards. The final time for the 1 ¼ miles on turf was 2:01.27.
Privately purchased by his current connections last summer after
beginning his career with four wins in five starts in Florida, Tale of a
Champion, who paid $22.40, $7.20 and $5, is 6-for-14 lifetime. He’s
“I think we’ve misplaced this horse before and he hasn’t had the
best trips,’’ said Mulhall after her first graded win at Hollywood Park
since Puerto Banus won the Sunset Handicap – which was then a Grade II –
in 2003. “He feels like he wants to run two miles when he’s galloping. I
told the owner about five races ago I’d like to see him go a mile and a
“We were trying to build his confidence up at Santa Anita. He’s been
training really well. We’ve been working him short trying to get him to
relax, but he’s been galloping out strong. We might come back in the
(Grade III, $100,000) Sunset Handicap (July 14).’’
Talamo, who has won twice in three pairings with Tale of a Champion, said the bay is coming into his own.
“We really had a great trip,’’ he said. “He really impressed me when
he won last time. The race set up perfectly for him today. My horse
felt (All Squared Away) at the eighth pole and kept digging in.’’
Runner-up in the Grade II San Juan Capistrano April 21 at Santa
Anita, All Squared Away flipped during the post parade, but quickly
recovered. According to trainer Peter Miller, the 4-year-old Bellamy
Road gelding spooked from the stable pony.
All Squared Away finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Lucky Primo, who
lost for the first time in four races over the Betfair Hollywood Park
grass. He returned $3 and $2.80.
The show price on Lucky Primo, who was making his first start since
winning the California Cup Classic last Oct. 13 at Santa Anita, was
Niagara Falls, Lime Rickey and Slim Shadey, the 5-2 second choice
and 122-pound top weight, completed the order of finish. Smart Ellis was