Heavily-favored Teddy’s Promise
toyed with six rivals Sunday at
Betfair Hollywood Park en route to a second consecutive victory in the
$85,450 Time To Leave Stakes.
After sitting behind the pace set by Magical Band and
Hidinginplainsight, Teddy’s Promise found room along the inside
approaching the stretch, quickly burst to the front and was geared down
at the finish by jockey Victor Espinoza. In winning by 4 ¼ lengths,
Teddy’s Promise, who carried top weight of 124 pounds, completed the
five furlongs over Cushion Track in 56.80 seconds.
Scratched from the $125,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes April 27 due to a
minor bruise to her left front foot, the California bred mare certainly
looked in perfect health Sunday for owner-breeders Ted and Judy Nichols
and trainer Ron Ellis.
The win was the ninth in 23 starts for the 5-year-old daughter of
Salt Lake and the Capote mare Braids and Beads and increased her
bankroll to $720,991. Five of Teddy’s Promise’s victories have come in
nine races over the Betfair Hollywood Park main track.
In her first outing since finishing second behind Rumor in the Grade III Las Flores Stakes March 10 at Santa Anita, Teddy’s Promise paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 2-5 choice.
“She’s relaxing and getting a lot more consistent than last year,’’
said Ellis, who is five wins away from 1,000 in his career. “She’s
really matured. We’re pretty excited about her.
“I don’t know about the ($70,000) Desert Stormer (at six furlongs
June 16). Her main goal is the ($200,000, Grade II) A Gleam Handicap
(July 13). That’s a ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the Breeders’ Cup
(Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 1 at Santa Anita).’’
The win by Teddy’s Promise was the first of the Spring/Summer meet for Espinoza, who began the 49-day season 0-for-20.
Like Rafael Bejarano, Espinoza, who will turn 41 May 23, is closing
in on 3,000 career victories. Espinoza has 2,992 wins, four less than
Bejarano, who won Sunday’s second with 9-10 favorite Streets of Heaven.
Through Sunday, Bejarano, who won the Spring/Summer title a year ago,
has a 12-9 lead over Tyler Baze and Joe Talamo in the jockey standings.
Returning to California after a sixth place finish in the Grade I
Madison April 13 at Keeneland, Shumoos rallied along the inside to gain
second, a head in front of Magical Band. Shumoos, the 6-1 second choice,
returned $4 and $3 while the show price on Magical Band was $2.80.
Bob Baffert, the defending champion, took over sole possession of
the top spot in the trainer’s race. Baffert has eight victories, two
more than fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Baffert capped a five win weekend with a Sunday double – in tandem
with jockey Martin Garcia – as he captured the sixth with first time
starter Everton and the eighth with Patriot’s Voyage. Trainer Steve
Knapp also had two wins, going back-to-back with Magic Mama in the
fourth and The Whole Deal in the fifth.