11/19/2011 8:50PM

Hollywood Park: Sanagas much the best in Hollywood Turf Cup

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BENOIT PHOTO
Ridden confidently by Rajiv Maragh, Sanagas scores by 3 1/2 lengths in the Hollywood Turf Cup.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Sanagas won his Grade 1 debut in Saturday’s $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup in a manner that suggested he was far from fully extended.

Ridden confidently by Rajiv Maragh, Sanagas was well-placed throughout the race over 1 1/2 miles, took the lead with three furlongs remaining and won comfortably, by 3 1/2 lengths.

The victory left trainer Graham Motion impressed, as he watched from his base in Maryland.

“I’m glad we took a shot,” Motion said by phone. “He did it very nicely.”

Sanagas ($5.20) was timed in 2:27.53, easily beating runner-up Bourbon Bay, a 5-year-old multiple stakes winner. Falcon Rock, who placed in two graded stakes earlier this year, finished third in the field of seven, followed by Ashtar, Norvsky, Miss Match, and Goldwaki.

Maragh had Sanagas in third-place for the first mile, stalking the mare Miss Match, who set a slow pace of 25.53 and 50.53 seconds. Racing three-wide, Sanagas was urged to the lead before the field reached the end of the backstretch for the final time, and quickly went clear, leading by as many as 4 1/2 lengths in early stretch.

A 5-year-old German-bred gelding by Lomitas, Sanagas won his third stakes in his last four starts in the Hollywood Turf Cup. Owned by Andreas Jacobs, Sanagas won 4 of 5 starts in Germany in 2010 and earlier this year.

After finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap in his American debut on July, Sanagas won the restricted John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga in August, was fourth in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park in September and won the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 20.

“I haven’t done a whole lot with him since he won at Keeneland,” Motion said. “He doesn’t take a whole lot of training. He’s just a very nice horse.”

Motion said that Sanagas will be rested over the winter, with the goal of being ready for the major turf stakes of the summer and fall of 2012. Sanagas has won 7 of 10 starts and $222,282.