07/04/2012 7:03PM

Hollywood Park: Blueskiesnrainbows takes Swaps by going slow early, fast enough late

Benoit & Associates
Blueskiesnrainbows (right), under Joe Talamo, holds off Nonios by three-quarters of a length in the Swaps.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A slow pace in the first half of Wednesday’s $150,000 Swaps Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park gave Blueskiesnrainbows a comfortable one-length lead, but did little to convince jockey Joe Talamo that the race was over.

“We were walking,” Talamo said. “I didn’t know if that was slow enough the way the track has been playing. Not too many horses have been winning on the front.”

Blueskiesnrainbows set fractions of 48.18 seconds for the half-mile and 1:12.88 for six furlongs. A slow third quarter-mile of 24.70 seconds helped sustain his advantage to the finish.

Blueskiesnrainbows led by two lengths with a furlong remaining and held off a late threat from Nonios to win the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes by three-quarters of a length.

“I waited until he switched leads to ask him,” Talamo said.

Owned by Bad Boy Racing and Whizaway Farms and trained by Bob Baffert, Blueskiesnrainbows won his first stakes in the Swaps. Earlier this year, he was third to Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby in April, but a dull ninth in the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4.

Blueskiesnrainbows had a break of two months before the Swaps, the top race for 3-year-old males at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

Blueskiesnrainbows ($9.60) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.89.

Nonios, the winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap on June 3, closed  from sixth in a field of seven to finish second. The loss frustrated jockey Martin Pedroza.

“I rode him with too much confidence,” Pedroza said. “I should have been closer.

“The way the track has been playing, I stayed behind. I gave him too much to do.”

The Baffert-trained Liaison finished third as the 2-1 favorite, closing  from last. Rousing Sermon was fourth, followed by Called to Serve, Empire Way, and All Squared Away.

Blueskiesnrainbows has won 3 of 8 starts and $221,242. The winner of a $30,000 claiming race for maidens in January, Blueskiesnrainbows won a starter allowance in February, his most recent win before Wednesday.