For the second time in 2010, Victor’s Cry sprung an upset in a significant turf race at Hollywood Park.
Some six months removed from his 21-1 surprise in the Shoemaker Mile, the 5-year-old son of Street Cry struck again Saturday, rallying strongly at 11-1 to win the $250,000 Citation Handicap.
Meanwhile, there were no perfect tickets once more in the Pick Six at Golden Gate Fields. The carryover for Sunday is $350,262. Post time at Golden Gate is 12:45 p.m. The Pick Six commences in the fourth race.
Owned by Equilete Stable and trained by Eoin Harty, Victor’s Cry, a late running Virginia bred, found a seam in deep stretch under Victor Espinoza and burst away to win by 1 ¾ lengths.
Now 3-for-5 on the Hollywood Park grass, Victor’s Cry, who is out of the Clever Trick mare Short Time, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:39.86. He’s won six of 20 overall and banked $564,021.
While providing both trainer and jockey with their first win in the Grade II, Victor’s Cry keyed a longshot trifecta.
Proudinsky, making his first start since he won the San Gabriel Handicap last Dec. 27 at Santa Anita, was second at 15-1. He finished a nose in front of 28-1 outsider Meteore. Court Vision, the 7-5 favorite, was fourth, a head behind Meteore, in a failed quest to win a second Turf Festival race. The son of Gulch had won the 2008 Hollywood Derby in his only previous visit.
Victor’s Cry paid $24.40, $12 and $6.20. Proudinsky returned $15.40 and $8.20. The show price on Meteore was $11.40. The $1 trifecta was worth $1,943.60.
“My horse was nice and relaxed, way, way back,’’ said Espinoza. “Right before the three-eighths pole, I just let him slighty move up, little by little. There were a lot of horses in front of me and I just wanted to make sure I’d have a great trip.
“I didn’t want him to get stopped under any circumstances because he’s such a big horse. This was the first time I was on him, so I didn’t know how he was going to react. Turning for home I was just waiting.
“There was just enough room to get through and when I turned him loose, he had a really strong kick. I just had to show him the whip, I didn’t really have to hit him. He won easily. I was very impressed.’’
Enriched finished fifth, a nose back of Court Vision, then came Bruce’s Dream, Colgan’s Chip, who led for the opening six furlongs, Violon Sacre, Ryehill Dreamer and Liberian Freighter.
Two races before the Citation, Comma to the Top continued his winning ways, taking the $100,000 Generous Stakes in his turf debut.
Three weeks after prevailing by 6 ¼ lengths in his first around two turns in the Real Quiet, Comma to the Top made it four victories in a row in his initial try in a graded race.
Owned by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara and trained by Peter Miller, the 2-year-old gelded son of Bwana Charlie and the Stormy Atlantic mare Maggies Storm was ridden by Corey Nakatani. The win was the 14th Turf Festival victory for Nakatani, tops among all jockeys, and his fourth in the Generous.
Completing the mile in 1:34.77 in the Grade III, Comma to the Top pushed his earnings to $176,600. The Florida bred has won five of nine. The wins during his streak have been by a combined 18 lengths.
Comma to the Top quickly took charge, shrugged off closest pursuer Divine Child to draw clear into the stretch, then held by 1 ¾ lengths despite drifting out in the final eighth of a mile. He paid $4, $3.40 and $2.40.
Moment of Weakness, who split horses late at nearly 18-1, gained second, a nose in front of 4-1 third choice Surrey Star. Moment of Weakness paid $12.60 and $5.60 while Surrey Star returned $3.60 to show.
Miller indicated Comma to the Top will return to Cushion Track for his next appearance.
“He’s going to the (CashCall) Futurity (Dec. 18), but turf is a nice option for next year and things like that,’’ said Miller. “I didn’t want to train him for six weeks up to the Futurity because he’s a big, heavy horse and he takes some training. The last race was pretty easy on him.
“This is a really good horse and he’s just starting to come around. He won real easy and I was really pleased with his performance today.’’