Updated on 09/17/2011 8:51PM

Grand Appointment wins first stakes

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BENOIT PHOTO
Grand Appointment and jockey Patrick Valenzuela drive to the finish to win the $125,000 Sensational Star Handicap on Sunday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Grand Appointment, claimed in his last start for $32,000, won his first stakes in Sunday's $137,875 at Santa Anita.

Always near the pace, Grand Appointment splashed home 1 1/4 lengths in front of Red Warrior, who rallied from last in the field of nine California-breds. Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Grand Appointment ($11.40) finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.56 over a wet-fast track. Excessivepleasure finished third. Bilo, the 2-1 favorite, finished seventh.

The Sensational Star and the $78,600 were scheduled for the hillside turf course and switched to the main track because of rain.

The Sensational Star marked Grand Appointment's first start for trainer Doug O'Neill and owner Pablo Suarez. A 7-year-old horse, Grand Appointment has won 6 of 17 starts and $295,941. He was claimed from a three-length win for sprinters on Feb. 2.

* Royal Place ended a six-race losing streak in the Daytona Handicap.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Royal Place rallied from fourth in the field of five to win by a length, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs on a wet-fast track in 1:14.03. Forest Grove finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of Indian Country.

Royal Place, who won the Lt. Governor Handicap at Hastings Park last July, races for K.K. Sengara and trained by Rafael Becerra. Royal Place, 5, has won 7 of 30 starts and $337,426.