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Lava Man captures Khaled
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Lava Man's domination of California's handicap division has expanded to turf.
The reigning winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup and Santa Anita Handicap, Lava Man won Sunday's $150,000 for California-breds at Hollywood Park by 5 1-4 lengths, setting a course record of 1:44.26 seconds for 1 1-8 miles on turf. The previous record of 1:44.78 was set in 1995 by Fastness.
Lava Man's win was the highlight of Sunday's 10-race California Gold Rush program for state-breds.
The Khaled Stakes left Lava Man with an unbeaten record in three starts this year. He won the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic in January and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March.
Lava Man's win on Sunday would have competitive against open company.
He could be easily be switched to a turf campaign if his short-term goals weren't the Californian Stakes on June 17 and the Hollywood Gold Cup on 8.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime horse," co-owner Jason Wood said.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani for trainer Doug O'Neill, Lava Man ($3.40) was always near the front in the Khaled. He was within a length of pacesetter Skywalker Red for the first six furlongs, took the lead on the final turn and was not threatened in the stretch.
"He was moving right along, and I just wanted to make sure that no one was going to come get me," Nakatani said.
Cheroot, who was third early, finished second, a nose in front of Super Strut in the field of eight.
Lava Man, 5, has won 10 of 30 starts and $2,274,706.
*Having a Kentucky Derby hopeful as a sparring partner helped Da Stoops in Sunday's $250,000 for 3-year-olds.
On April 24, Da Stoops worked seven furlongs with Point Determined, the runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby on April 8. The preparation helped Da Stoops to a convincing win in the Snow Chief Stakes at 1 1-8 miles, the longest race of the colt's career.
The win could lead to a start in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20.
The race was marred by an ankle injury suffered by 6-5 favorite Sam's Ace, who was pulled up on the final turn.
Da Stoops was always near the front. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Da Stoops stalked pacesetter Scootin George to early stretch before pulling away to win by 5 1-4 lengths. Da Stoops ($5) was timed in 1:49.45.
"This was a good spot to try" a longer race, trainer Bob Baffert said.
The victory came in Da Stoops's second start around two turns. He finished third in an allowance race at Santa Anita last November. Owned by Paul Weitman and Karl Watson, Da Stoops later won two sprints - the California Breeders' Champion Stakes and the Sunshine Millions Dash.
Da Stoops has won 4 of 11 starts and $486,950.
*Proposed successfully dropped back in distance to win the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlongs, scoring her second stakes win.
Never far from the front, Proposed ($2.80) stalked pacesetters Somthinaboutlaura and Vikki's Honor and took the lead at the top of the stretch with a three-wide rally. Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Proposed pulled clear to win by three lengths in 1:21.36. Somethinaboutlaura held second, a length in front of Vikki's Honor in the field of six.
Proposed won the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes at 1 1-16 miles earlier this year and had not run in a sprint since last summer. "We've been doing everything to stop her from being a sprinter, but she likes to win," trainer John Shirreffs said.
Owned and bred by Marty and Pam Wygod, Proposed, 4, has won 6 of 12 starts and $435,200. She will return to graded stakes around two turns later at this meeting, Shirreffs said.
*Earlier this year at Santa Anita, She's an Eleven made the lead in a maiden race only to be caught late. There was no quit in the 3-year-old filly in the $200,000 .
Making her stakes debut, She's an Eleven rallied from seventh to take the lead on the final turn and win by 9 1-4 lengths.
Jockey Garrett Gomez kept She's an Eleven busy in early stretch once she hit the front.
"I thought, We're going forward and I didn't give her a chance to think about it," he said.
Sent off favored, She's an Eleven ($5.40) finished 1 1-16 miles in 1:42.91. Bai and Bai finished second, 1 1-2 lengths in front of Chosen Royalty.
She's an Eleven has won 2 of 6 starts and $199,950 for CRK Stables and trainer John Sadler. She broker her maiden by 11 1-4 lengths at Santa Anita on March 2.
*A bumping incident in the stretch spurred Lucky J.H. into the winner's circle of the $150,000 .
Lucky J.H. was fighting for the lead with Areyoutalkintome when Areyoutalkintome drifted out and soundly hit Lucky J.H. The contact seemed to anger Lucky J.H., according to Espinoza.
"When he got that little bit of contact, I think it made him run a little harder," Espinoza said.
Lucky J.H. won by a head over Areyoutalkintome, running 7 1-2 furlongs in 1:28.25. Real Temptation finished third in the field of eight. The stewards inquired into the stretch run, but made no change.
Valenzuela, who rode Areyoutalkintome, said the judges made the right call.
"There was no doubt I came out into the other horse," Valenzuela said. "I told (the stewards) my horse tried to get out as soon as he switched to his right lead."
Lucky J.H., 4, races for John Harris and trainer Carla Gaines. Lucky J.H. won his first stakes in the Tiznow Stakes and has won 4 of 10 starts and $270,435.
*Memorette ended an 11-race losing streak over the last 16 months with a come-from-behind victory in the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes.
Memorette finished a neck in front of pacesetter Dancing Edie, who finished three-quarters of a length in front of 3-5 favorite Moscow Burning in the field of seven fillies and mares.
Moscow Burning was second to Dancing Edie in midstretch but could not sustain the rally. "I think she ran pretty good down the lane," said Jim Cassidy, the trainer of Moscow Burning.
He questioned whether Moscow Burning's 124-pound assignment took its toll. Under the allowance conditions of the race, Moscow Burning carried eight pounds more than Memorette and Dancing Edie.
Jockey Alex Solis rode Memorette and keyed on Moscow Burning in the stretch.
"I was following the filly I had to beat," Solis said. "I got her in the clear and she finished really strong."
Memorette ran 1 1-16 miles on turf in 1:39.53.
Owned by Betty Currin and trained by her husband Bill, Memorette has won 3 of 17 starts and $527,073.