11/29/2013 7:28PM

Hollywood Park: Silentio finishes strong to win Citation Handicap by nose

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Benoit & Associates
Silentio (left) finishes strong to beat Summer Front by a nose in the Citation Handicap.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Racing over a rain-soaked turf course, Silentio won the biggest race of his career in Friday’s $250,500 Citation Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park, outfinishing Summer Front in a thrilling duel.

The win left jockey Rafael Bejarano impressed. Bejarano was convinced Silentio was unhappy on the turf course, rated good after persistent morning rain.

“He didn’t feel 100 percent on the wet turf,” Bejarano said. “He tried hard but he stumbled a little bit.”

Silentio won by a nose over Summer Front, who led for a few strides in the final sixteenth. Sent off favored, Silentio ($5) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.66.

Silentio closed from sixth in a field of seven to reach contention in early stretch. Bejarano had Silentio three wide on the backstretch, but found racing room on the rail on the turn. In the stretch, Bejarano urged Silentio between pacesetter Winning Prize and Summer Front.
Winning Prize faded from contention in the final sixteenth, leaving Silentio and Summer Front to fight out the finish. The two bobbed heads in the final strides.

“In the stretch, I did everything I could,” Bejarano said. “It was pretty close. I thought he beat me.”

Summer Front was ridden by Joe Bravo. After the race, Bejarano and Bravo watched the replay together in the jockeys’ room.

“I couldn’t have asked my horse to do anything better,” Bravo said.

Summer Front, the winner of Grade 3 races earlier this year at Calder and Monmouth Park, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Winning Prize, who set a quick pace of 23.15 and 46.74 seconds through the first half-mile.

Big Bane Theory was fourth, followed by Bio Pro, My Best Brother, and Bright Thought.

Silentio was a game third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan. Silentio raced in traffic on the turn and closed steadily through the stretch in that race.

A 4-year-old colt by Silent Name, Silentio races for breeders Alain and Gerard Wertheimer and is trained by Gary Mandella.

Silentio has won 4 of 10 starts and $626,960. He won the Grade 2, $150,750 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf at Santa Anita last December in his stakes debut.

The Citation was Silentio’s seventh consecutive start in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race. He was second by a nose in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita last March.