A well-timed move by jockey Flavien Prat in the final furlong carried post-time favorite Hong Kong Harry (8-5) from fourth place to a thrilling, neck victory Saturday in the Grade 2, $250,000 Seabiscuit Handicap on the turf at Del Mar.
Trained by Phil D’Amato for owners Scott Anastasi, Jimmy Ukegawa and Tony Valazza, the 5-year-old Es Que Love gelding made up eight lengths in the last half of the 1 1/16-mile race to overtake Beyond Brilliant (8-5) and D’Amato pacesetter Masteroffoxhounds (19-1) in the final strides for his second consecutive Grade 2 triumph.
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The winning time of 1:39.79 on the firm course was the fastest in the nine years since the race was moved to Del Mar in 2014 and the fifth fastest in the 47 combined runnings of this race and its antecedent, the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park. Hong Kong Harry was only 0.29 seconds outside the course record set by Fly to Mars on July 28, 2018, in the California Dreamin’ Stakes.
Timed just right!
Flavien Prat & Hong Kong Harry fly over the turf to win the GII Seabiscuit Handicap at the wire. pic.twitter.com/s5Wsm3Zaah— Del Mar Racetrack (@DelMarRacing) November 26, 2022
Masteroffoxhounds, ridden by Mike Smith, led the eight-horse field with early fractions of 23.32, 46.31, 1:09.56 and 1:33.73. He did not give up the lead until mid-pack runner Beyond Brilliant, with jockey Víctor Espinoza, caught him in the last 110 yards before Hong Kong Harry swooped through in the three path.
Hong Kong Harry paid $5.20, $3.20 and $2.80. Second-place Beyond Brilliant returned $7.20 and $5.80. Masteroffoxhounds finished another head back in third and paid $11.80. Santin (7-2), a two-time Grade 1 winner this year who carried the top weight of 125 pounds, finished 3 1/2 lengths off the lead in fourth. He was followed in order by Irideo (35-1), Set Piece (7-2), Smooth Like Strait (4-1) and Kentucky Ghost (38-1).
Bred in Ireland by Amarath Business Management and sold in England last fall for $122,768, Hong Kong Harry was transferred to D’Amato from British trainer Richard Fahey. In England and Ireland, he compiled a record of 7: 4-1-1. Since coming to America, he is 6: 5-1-0 with earnings of $524,600, all from races in Southern California. Hong Kong Harry’s previous wins included the American (G3) in June at Santa Anita and the Del Mar Mile (G2) in September.
D’Amato and Prat also combined to win Friday’s Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar with Prince Abama.