08/18/2010 8:14PM

California Flag has winning comeback in Green Flash

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Benoit & Associates
California Flag and Mike Smith (green silks) take the Green Flash at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. - California Flag won for the first time since the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in Wednesday’s $102,175 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar, a performance that trainer Brian Koriner hopes will put the 6-year-old gelding on course for the 2010 BC Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in November.

California Flag ($4.20) won the five-furlong turf sprint by a nose over Quick Enough and My Summer Slew, who finished in a dead heat for second. Cost of Freedom, the Grade 1 winner making his turf debut, finished fourth, beaten a half-length.

California Flag was ridden by Mike Smith and was timed in 55.58 seconds. Smith had California Flag in midpack early, a change from the gelding’s previous style of racing on the lead. Last year, California Flag led throughout the Green Flash, winning by a neck.

The Green Flash was California Flag’s first start since a third in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on turf in Dubai last March, his only other start this year. Owned by breeder Keith Card, California Flag has won 9 of 19 starts and $1,166,171.