07/04/2009 12:00AM

Monterey Jazz runs away with American

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Monterey Jazz's mid-career rut is over.

After winning three graded stakes at 3 and 4, Monterey Jazz lost four consecutive races from November 2008 to March of this year. Since returning from a 10-week break in late May, Monterey Jazz has rebounded with two consecutive wins, the most recent Saturday in the $150,000 American Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Ridden with confidence by Tyler Baze, Monterey Jazz disputed the early pace in the Grade 2 American Handicap, pulled away on the backstretch, and won by a comfortable 3 1/4 lengths over 6-1 shot Artiste Royal. Whatsthescript, the 6-5 favorite and defending champion, closed from fifth in a field of six to finish third.

Monterey Jazz has led in all four of his career graded stakes wins, and trainer Craig Dollase wanted to employ that style in the American.

"We didn't want to take him out of his strength," Dollase said.

Monterey Jazz fought with Storm Military through an opening quarter-mile in 24.27 seconds and had a clear led through a half-mile in 47.72 seconds. Monterey Jazz led by six lengths on the final turn and into the stretch and was not threatened in the final furlong.

Owned by Class Racing Stable and A and R Stables, Monterey Jazz ($7.40) ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.11. A 5-year-old horse by Thunderello, Monterey Jazz has won 8 of 19 starts and $670,880.

Dollase said a front-running victory in an allowance race over a mile on turf here on May 24 helped Monterey Jazz to regain his best form.

"The whole objective was to get his confidence back," he said. "It looks like it's working."