11/23/2012 9:33PM

Hollywood Park: Data Link gets perfect trip to win Citation Handicap

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Benoit & Associates
Data Link, with Garrett Gomez up, wins the Grade 2 Citation Handicap by 2 1/4 lengths.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Data Link had a perfect trip under red-hot jockey Garrett Gomez to win Saturday’s $250,000 Citation Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park, the ideal finish to an already successful 2012 campaign for the 4-year-old colt.

The second choice in the betting, Data Link ($7) closed from fourth in a field of seven to win by a convincing 2 1/4 lengths over pacesetter, and 2-1 favorite, Ultimate Eagle. Doubles Partner finished third.

Gomez, who had four wins on Friday’s 10-race program, brought Data Link to the outside in early stretch and got a quick response.

“When I said go, he said, how fast?” Gomez joked after the race.

Data Link ran 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:41. Owned by Stuart Janney III and trained by Shug McGaughey, Data Link won three stakes in 2012 – including the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes in June.

The Grade 2 Citation was Data Link’s first start since a fifth behind Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile at Keeneland in October. Wise Dan won the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita earlier this month.

By War Front, Data Link has won 7 of 15 starts and $673,835. Jennifer Patterson, who assists McGaughey and traveled to California this week, said that Data Link will be based at the Payson Park training center in Florida this winter and will have a wintertime rest before his 2013 campaign.

“He’s a fun horse to be around,” Patterson said.  “I told Garrett to see how the race unfolded – with speed or no speed. He’s got a good turn of foot.”