Updated on 09/15/2011 12:15PM

Sligo Bay wins Cinema Handicap


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Concerned that an allowance race next week might not fill, trainer Beau Greely entered Sligo Bay in Sunday's $108,600 Cinema Handicap at Hollywood Park to prepare for a summer campaign.

The precautionary move turned into a preemptive strike when Sligo Bay won the Grade 3 Cinema Handicap for 3-year-olds under Laffit Pincay, Jr. Making his first start in the U.S., Sligo Bay ran 1 1-8 miles on turf in 1:48.40. By Sadler's Wells, the Cinema Handicap was Sligo Bay's first stakes win and first start since finishing third in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 1 1-4 miles last October in France.

"I wasn't sure about such a long layoff," Greely said. "He showed today he's a classy horse."

Sligo Bay gave Pincay his sixth win in the Cinema Handicap, but first since 1977.

Pincay had Sligo Bay at the back of the field to the second turn, stalking the pace of Resolve and Macabe, who set fractions of 24.18 and 48.51 seconds.

Pincay moved Sligo Bay wide on the final turn and in early stretch. Sligo Bay caught Learing at Kathy in the final sixteenth and won by a length.

"If he'd have put in a good race, I'd have been happy," Greely said.

Marine, the 9-5 favorite, was last early and rallied to finish third.

"I thought my horse would give me a little more of a kick at the end," said Marine's jockey, Eddie Delahoussaye. "He just kind of ran spotty."

Sligo Bay is owned by Columbine Stable who purchased him last winter. Based in Ireland last year, he placed in three graded stakes, including a second in the Group 3 Beresford Stakes last October.

Greely said the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 18 is a long-term goal.