Updated on 09/17/2011 10:23AM

Ninebanks victorious in San Francisco BC Mile

Vassar Photography
Ninebanks crosses the wire a nose in front of Nicobar in Saturday's San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile at Bay Meadows.

SAN MATEO, Calif. - Ninebanks ($11.20) got a dream trip and parlayed it into the biggest victory of his career, edging Nicobar by a nose to win the $177,500 Grade 2 on Saturday at Bay Meadows.

Ninebanks sat in third behind pacesetting I'madrifter and Bit Of Luck as he got a rail-skimming trip. He blew past I'madrifter into the lane as he came off the rail. Nicobar, who had tracked Ninebanks from the rail, followed him along the inside and stayed on the rail through the stretch run.

He pulled along side in the stretch drive and several times seemed to be on even terms with Ninebanks. But each time Ninebanks was able to stick his nose back in front as he followed up his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap with a Grade 2 victory, covering the mile in 1:37.20 over a yielding turf course.

National Anthem, Nicbar's stablemate, closed for last to run third, one length farther back. Favored Ladies Din, who was five wide on the second turn, was fourth another length back.

"It was absolutely perfect," winning jockey Ron Warren Jr. said. "I was in the catbird seat. The fence was open all the way.

"I had a dream trip to the quarter pole. I was afraid of moving too early, but I know he likes to go longer so I wasn't worried about moving when I did.

"This horse is on a roll. When he got in front, they had to come to him, and he wasn't going to let them win."

Nicobar's jockey Frank Alvarado said, "That Ninebanks is too tough. I had a nice trip. I saved ground and followed Ronnie through on the inside. It got a little tight at the sixteenth pole, and my horse got a little intimidated and hesitated. But other than that, he had no excuse."

Winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who claimed the 5-year-old gelding for Peter Abruzzo for $50,000, saw him with for the ninth time in 28 starts and the fifth time in eight starts over the Longden Turf Course. Ninebanks picked up $110,000 for the victory to lift his career total to $516,793.

"I was a little nervous because I thought (Bit Of Luck) would be laying right on I'madrifter's flank, but he wasn't. I saw Ron had a chance to get through, and I figured we'd have no excuse after that."

Hollendorfer greeted Warren in the winner's circle with a one-word assessment of his ride: "Masterful."

Hollendorfer had the option of running Ninebanks at Hollywood Park in a Cal-bred stakes, but said, "For me, it wasn't much of a thought.

"I would rather stay home, and I knew the course would be a bit soft, which he likes."

Hollendorfer said he didn't know where Ninebanks would run next.

Ladies Din's trainer Frank Monteleone said his 8-year-old millionaire, who made his first start in 11 months, would point to next month's Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park. Ladies Din won the race last year in his last start.

"It looked like he got a little tired out there," he said. "The turf was a bit soft, and I don't think that helped. He really needed this race, and it should set him up well for the Shoemaker Mile."