11/24/2013 7:22PM

Hollywood Park: Rousing Sermon wears down Cyclometer in On Trust Handicap

Benoit & Associates
Rousing Sermon, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, wins the On Trust Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths Sunday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Rousing Sermon has become a different horse this fall after a change in race tactics. A colt who was once a deep closer is more effective when racing near the pace.

Rousing Sermon was second in the minor Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 31, racing in second throughout. On Sunday, Rousing Sermon raced just behind the pacesetters in the $100,750 On Trust Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park and wore down a stubborn leader in Cyclometer to win his first stakes in more than two years.

The On Trust Handicap was the second stakes win in as many days for owners Larry and Marianne Williams, Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and jockey Rafael Bejarano, who teamed to win Saturday’s Real Quiet Stakes with Tamarando.

Rousing Sermon ($6.60) ran 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:29.73, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over 8-5 favorite Cyclometer. Mobilized closed from last to finish third, followed by Spirit Rules, Luckarack, Maybe Tuesday, Starspangled Heat and Compari.

Bejarano had Rousing Sermon in third for the first half-mile, stalking Compari and Cyclometer on the backstretch. Rousing Sermon raced three wide on the turn and took the lead with a furlong remaining.

The On Trust Handicap for California-breds was Rousing Sermon’s first stakes win since taking the California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in October 2011. He later was second in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in 2011 and eighth in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

Rousing Sermon’s new style of racing has led to hope that he can win a graded stakes in 2014.

“If he gets too far back, he’s too relaxed and falls asleep,” said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s assistant. “He likes to be in the race.”

By Lucky Pulpit, Rousing Sermon has won 5 of 23 starts and $687,842.