Favored Joelito won for the second time in three starts on turf, defeating Unbridled Giant and five other 3-year-olds in the $54,500 feature Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Twenty-seven days after finishing a respectable fourth in the Grade II American Turf at Churchill Downs, the Rock Hard Ten colt won by a half-length under jockey Joe Talamo. The final time for the one mile was 1:34.35.
Owned by J.W. Singer, Inc. and trained by John Sadler, Joelito, who is out of the Mr. Greeley mare Miss Greenley, won for the second time in six starts.
The $32,400 payday boosted his bankroll to $91,607. Both of Joelito’s wins have come in three races on turf. The dark bay earned his maiden victory April 6 over the Santa Anita grass.
Positioned a few lengths off the pace set first by Saint Prado before Unbridled Giant took over on the backstretch, Joelito engaged for the lead entering the stretch, battled with the 7-1 runner-up for most of the final eighth of a mile before taking command near the finish.
Never less than 4-1 before Thursday, Joelito paid as the 6-5 choice. Unbridled Giant, who had defeated $75,000 maidens April 28 in his first start over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf, returned while finishing a half-length in front of Horizon Sky. The show price on Horizon Sky, who added blinkers for trainer Jeff Mullins, was $2.60.
Uno Dos Adios, the 7-2 second choice, was fourth, 1 ½ lengths behind Horizon Sky. Saint Prado, Square Dancer and Jets to Brazil completed the order of finish.
Apprentice jockey Irving Orozco collected his first win at Betfair Holllywood Park when Mayan Eyes scored a 12-1 upset in Thursday’s third race.
A recent arrival from Golden Gate Fields, Orozco, who has a seven-pound weight allowance, is a native of Glendale. He earned his first thoroughbred win April 21, 2012 at Golden Gate.