07/05/2010 12:00AM

J P's Gusto all out to win Hollywood Juvenile


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - J P's Gusto won his second stakes of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting in Monday's $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, but this win was not as easy as his victory in the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes in May.

J P's Gusto won the Proctor by 4 1/2 lengths. He won the Grade 3 Juvenile Championship for 2-year-olds by a hard-fought neck over Western Mood, who was head-and-head with the winner at one point in the final furlong. Ridden by Joe Talamo, J P's Gusto ($3.40) ran six furlongs in 1:10.48.

"For being so young, he's so mature and very, very professional," Talamo said. "He really fought back. You really like to see that in a young horse."

Western Mood, sent off as the 7-5 second choice, finished 5 3/4 lengths clear of 25-1 Minutesandtouches, third in the field of eight.

Talamo kept J P's Gusto in second on the backstretch and entering the turn, well behind early leader River's Chapel, who set a quick pace of 22.06 and 45.61 seconds but faded through the stretch to finish fifth. On the turn, Talamo allowed J P's Gusto to drift wide on the turn, which forced Western Mood several paths off the rail.

"I was pretty confident down the backstretch," Talamo said. "I knew the horse in front was going very quickly for a 2-year-old."

J P's Gusto was a troubled sixth in his debut on May 9, but has won his last two starts. Owned by John Waken's Gem Inc., and trained by David Hofmans, J P's Gusto has earned $97,360. Hofmans said the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 8 will be J P's Gusto's next start.

Chances are he will face a rematch with the equally promising Western Mood, who made his stakes debut in the Juvenile Championship.