04/28/2012 1:26PM

Hollywood Park: Inglewood win may earn Utopian shot at Whittingham

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Benoit & Associates
Utopian runs down pacesetter Smug to prevail by a head in the Inglewood Handicap.

Without Acclamation, Utopian won his first stakes in the $98,000 Inglewood Handicap, outfinishing pacesetter Smug by a head in the race over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Utopian ($6.80) was second until early stretch when he moved within a length of Smug, who set an early pace of 25.75 and 50.23 seconds. Utopian was timed in 1:48.73.

“They were going really slow and I knew it would turn into a sprint for home,” Smith said. Smug finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of 3-5 favorite Holladay Road, who was well clear of Haimish Hy in the four-horse field.

Utopian races for Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs. A 5-year-old horse by Rock Hard Ten, Utopian has won 3 of 11 starts and $183,180. Earlier this year, Utopian was second in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita but was fourth in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes there on March 25.

Utopian could make his next start in the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf on June 9.

“His whole family is distance, distance,” Shirreffs said. “They slowed it down pretty good, and they came home quickly. That’s tough for Utopian, and he ran a really great race.”

Bejarano becomes U.S. citizen

Jockey Rafael Bejarano was sworn in as a United States citizen in a ceremony in Louisville, Ky., on Friday.

Bejarano, 29, was not in Louisville very long. He flew back to California in time to ride Friday evening’s program at Hollywood Park.

He was winless with six mounts, and had two seconds and three third-place finishes.

Earlier this year, Bejarano, a native of Peru, passed the citizenship test in Louisville. The winner of 15 riding titles in Southern California, Bejarano was recently second to Joel Rosario at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

◗ Eblouissante, an unraced 3-year-old half-sister to Zenyatta, worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Trained by Shirreffs, Eblouissante is expected to make her career debut at the current meeting.