The Seabiscuit Handicap
Grade 2 – Purse $250,000 – 1 1/16 miles – Turf – 3-Year-Old and Up Fillies & Mares
And the eight runners did not disappoint, throwing up a thriller. From the gate it was Masteroffoxhounds and Smooth Like Strait who were dueling for the early speed and as they went into the clubhouse turn it was the former who set the pace.
The well-fancied Santin settled in the third spot with the favorite and eventual winner HONG KONG HARRY, who was well backed on the boards at 11/8 settling about 6 lengths back off a medium speed with the opening quarter just over 23 seconds.
As they came out of the far turn Mike Smith said go on Masteroffoxhounds and he quickly cleared off the home turn by some three lengths, but the cavalry was coming, and Beyond Brilliant who had traveled in fourth, pitched out three wide to make his move, and at the same time the favorite Hong King Harry moved even wider into the home straight as they settled down for the stretch drive.
Masteroffoxhounds held on gamely until just 50 yards from the line, as first Beyond Brilliant nailed him, and then finally Hong Kong Harry nailed them both on the wire for an amazing win.
Of the others, Irideo and Set Piece only showed a mild rally and were never in contention, while after a slow start, Kentucky Ghost was no factor, while Smooth Like Strait dropped back after dueling for the speed and Santin was disappointing in a distant fourth spot.
|1. HONG KONG HARRY
|2. BEYOND BRILLIANT
WINNING TIME: 1 mins 39.79 secs
The Berkeley Handicap
Grade 3 – Purse $100,000 – 1 1/16 miles – All Weather Track – 3-Year-Old and Up
Just the five runners headed to the post for this Grade 3 handicap, which was the 71st running of the Berkeley, and even though we had a small field due to go to post, it was four across the track as they entered the final furlong and the run to the wire.
As they jumped from the gate it was Imgonnabesomebody who was hustled to the lead by jockey Rivera followed closely by Rip City and eventual winner LAMMAS who jumped a touch slow, before getting a nice stalking position on the fence in third.
The other two were only a couple of lengths back, with the chalk Freeport Joe happy to settle in the last spot under Espinoza.
As they raced down the backstretch, the open quarter went in 24.01 and the opening half in 48 seconds flat.
Imgonnabesomebody set the fractions at a relatively slow pace and Lammas who traveled strongly throughout had to be taken back off heels halfway down the backstretch. As they entered the far turn the leader was asked for more and responded while Rip City kept on coming on the outside.
At this point, Tulsa Tornado made a move to third three wide but soon backed out of contention, while it was here that Freeport Joe pitched four wide into the stretch to lay down his challenge. Lammas was once again caught on heels but moved inside and got his run down the fence as Imgonnabesomebody drifted into the two-lane.
As they entered the final furlong Rip City began to give way and it was Lammas who got to the front and prevailed late to win by a length and a quarter, with Imgonnabesomebody holding Freeport Joe for the place spot.
1. LAMMAS $10.20 $4.80 $2.40
2. IMGONNABESOMEBODY $3.80 $2.20
3. FREEPORT JOE $2.10
WINNING TIME: 1 mins 42.42 secs
The Native Diver Stakes
Grade 3 – Purse $150,000 – 1 1/8 miles – Dirt – 3 Year Old and Up
The Native Diver Stakes took place on Sunday 27th November and Bob Baffert trained runners Azul Coast, who was going for back top back wins, and Defunded, who was a short price chalk to win this, the 44th running of the Native Diver Stakes.
It was expected to see a speed duel up front between Joe Go Won and the eventual winner DEFUNDED, however, the favorite bobbled at the start and had to make ground into the clubhouse turn where he went outside Joe Go Won and Newgrange who was reined back into third sport with Parnelli on his outside and Tizamagician on the fence with Azul Coast the trailer but just five lengths off the pace set by Joe Go Won and his barn buddy Defunded.
The opening quarter went in 23.52 seconds with the half-mile going in a quick 46.41 seconds.
Halfway down the backstretch, the two leaders cleared away by three lengths with the other four jockeys getting into the drive position to try and make up ground.
As they hit the top of the stretch, it was Defunded who went clear with Joe Go Won backing out of things. It was left to the barn buddy Azul Coast to lay down the challenge to the favorite, but he was still five lengths back at the sixteenth pole with Newgrange rallying late to fill the show spot.
Defunded had put a couple of poor efforts in at Del Mar in previous races but was an emphatic scorer here, and bigger things beckon as he was giving 4lb and 5lbs to his five rivals.
Parnelli and Tizamagician put up disappointing efforts with the latter clearly needing to be stretched back out in distance.
RESULTS COURTESY OF JAZZSPORTS
1. DEFUNDED $3.40 $2.40 $2.10
2. AZUL COAST $6.60 $4.40
3. NEWGRANGE $3.40
WINNING TIME: 1 mins 50.12 secs
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