06/29/2013 9:08PM

Hollywood Park: Centralinteligence gets first stakes win in Triple Bend

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Benoit & Associates
Centralinteligence likely will point toward the Breeders' Cup Sprint, though his victory Saturday in the Triple Bend Handicap earned him a spot in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – When Centralinteligence was ready to return from a lengthy layoff earlier this meet at Betfair Hollywood Park, trainer Ron Ellis and co-owner Bob Feld designed a schedule that they hoped would have Centralinteligence peaking for the Grade 1, $250,750 Triple Bend Handicap on Saturday.

Maybe they should go work for the CIA because their cloak-and-dagger plan paid off handsomely, with Centralinteligence scoring an 8-1 upset win by an emphatic 3 1/2 lengths.

“This is what we had planned for all meet,” Ellis said in the winner’s circle after Centralinteligence ran down Comma to the Top for the first stakes victory of his career. The seven-furlong Triple Bend offers a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but Ellis said Centralinteligence was likely to point for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint instead.

Regardless, he will get a vacation during Del Mar before coming back to the races at Santa Anita in the fall. He earned the brief time off by running the best race of his life Saturday. Caught four paths wide on the far turn, Centralinteligence ($19) was resolute in the stretch under jockey Victor Espinoza. He pulled away late while covering seven furlongs in 1:21.57 on Cushion Track.

Comma to the Top was 1 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Morning Line. Drill was fourth and was followed by Rail Trip, Cyclometer, Camp Victory, and Jimmy Creed, the 3-2 favorite who was making his first start since a planned trip to the Met Mile was scrapped at the last minute last month.

After the race, Gary Mandella, the son of Richard Mandella, Jimmy Creed’s trainer, said on Twitter that Jimmy Creed lost his left-front shoe in the race.

Centralinteligence was sixth in last year’s Triple Bend and came out of the race with two chips in his right knee, Ellis said. Surgery was performed by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith. He did not return until May 4, when fourth in the five-furlong Cool Frenchy here. He then finished second to Comma to the Top in the six-furlong Los Angeles Handicap on May 27.

“We planned for the Triple Bend, and it came together,” Ellis said.

Centralinteligence, 5, has won four times in 12 starts. A gelding by Smarty Jones, Centralinteligence was bred by Patricia Chapman, who owned Smarty Jones with her husband, Roy, when he won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2004.