Updated on 09/15/2011 1:31PM

Frankel sweeps at Hollywood Park


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Bobby Frankel swept Sunday's two $500,000 races at Hollywood Park on Sunday, winning the Matriarch Stakes* with Starine and the Hollywood Derby with Denon.

But Starine's win in the Matriarch was marred by a fatal injury suffered at the finish by Spook Express, one of the top female turf horses in the nation. Spook Express, second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf last month at Belmont Park, fell nearing the finish after racing at the back of the field. She was diagnosed with a compound luxation of her left fetlock joint and was euthanized. Jockey Mike Smith was not hurt. He said Spook Express hit a "funny spot" near the sixteenth pole.

A 7-year-old, Spook Express won 11 of 22 starts and $1,085,670. She was a champion in South Africa in 1998 and won stakes at Gulfstream Park and Keeneland this year.

Starine, owned by Frankel, was tenth in the Filly and Mare Turf, but had a better trip in the Matriarch. Ridden by John Velazquez, Starine ($8.80) stalked pacesetter Crystal Music to the top of the stretch, took the lead before the eighth pole and pulled clear to win by 2 1-2 lengths. Racing over a yielding turf course, Starine finished 1 1-8 miles on turf in 1:50.16. "To me the course was a little soft, but she didn't bobble," Velazquez said. "She was very aggressive and used it to her advantage."

The Grade 1 Matriarch was Starine's second stakes win of the year. She won the Grade 2 Diana Handicap at Saratoga in September over a good course.

"When they get on soft turf, they don't pull as hard," Frankel said.

Lethals Lady, a 20-1 longshot from France, finished second, a neck in front of Golden Apples, the 2-1 favorite. Crystal Music finished fourth, followed by Freefourracing, Janet, Gino's Spirits, Boismorand, Verruma, Baldwina, and Al Desima.

Golden Apples closed from ninth, one of the few horses to make up any ground on the Hollywood Park turf on Sunday.

"She did everything I needed to do except when I asked her to quicken she wasn't able to catch up," said jockey Garrett Gomez. "It was like driving a car on a slippery road. I couldn't get the traction."

*Throughout the fall, Frankel had tipped Denon as a 3-year-old to follow.

In the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby*, Denon made his U.S. debut and was confidently handled by Chris McCarron. Sent off as the favored entry with Aldebaran, Denon stalked the leaders on the backstretch before taking a more prominent position on the final turn.

"I was pleased to see he handled the ground," McCarron said. "When the hole opened at the three-eighths pole, I thought I was in good shape."

Western Pride led by as many as 3 1-2 lengths on the backstretch, but yielded the lead to Sligo Bay on the final turn. Denon was third in early stretch, racing wide, but had the measure of Sligo Bay in the final furlong.

"When he finally did switch leads, he did kick by that horse," McCarron said. Denon ($4.20) finished 1 1-8 miles in 1:49.28, beating Sligo Bay by a length.

Aldebaran closed from tenth to finish third. Frankel also finished eighth with Blue Steller. He scratched Mizzen Mast because of the conditions.

On the final turn, Frankel thought Denon was his best chance.

"I was looking more at Denon," he said. "I was waiting for him to get rolling. You have to put him in the race. He's a little one-paced."

Denon was a stakes winner in France earlier this year. He is co-owned by Flaxman Holdings and Edmund Gann.

Matriarch Stakes Chart*

Hollywood Derby Chart*

* Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.