12/06/2008 12:00AM

Champs Elysees gets it right this time


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Champs Elysees had better luck this year. Ridden for the first time by Jose Valdivia, Champs Elysees ($5.60) parlayed a perfect trip to a half-length victory Saturday in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup, the mile and a half race he should have won a year ago in his U.S. debut.

Bobby Frankel trains Champs Elysees for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farm; the Turf Cup marked the fifth Grade 1 victory by a horse out of one of the best producers in recent history. A 5-year-old by Danehill, Champs Elysees is out of the mare Hasili. Including Champs Elysees, she has produced five Grade 1 winners - Cacique, Intercontinental, Heat Haze, and Banks Hill.

Champs Elysees finished second in the 2007 Turf Cup after being shuffled back on the far turn, but he got a perfect trip Saturday. Valdivia saved ground throughout the three-turn race, swung outside at the top of the lane, made the lead and held off runner-up Obrigado by a half-length. Church Service finished third and Black Mamba was fourth. Winchester, second choice in the betting, finished sixth.

Pending a final decision from Juddmonte, Frankel expects to train Champs Elysees into his 6-year-old campaign in 2009. He has won five of 21, and has earned more than $1.3 million. The final time of the Turf Cup was 2:27.71.