07/31/2010 7:26AM

Slow fractions help Temple City steal Cougar II Handicap

Temple City, under Joe Talamo, cruises to victory in the Cougar II Handicap.

Temple City won his first stakes in Friday’s $125,000 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar, earning an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Marathon at Churchill Downs in November, subject to the payment of entry fees.


Ridden by Joe Talamo, Temple City ($4.40) had a relatively easy race in the Grade 3 Cougar II. Temple City set a slow pace of 25.61 and 50.53 seconds for the first half-mile, ran six furlongs in 1:16.19, and maintained a comfortable lead, winning by 3 1/4 lengths over Unusual Suspect.


Richard’s Kid, a slight favorite at 11-10, could only manage third, after tracking Temple City in third place. Unusual Suspect and Richard’s Kid were first and second in the 2009 Cougar II.


Temple City ran 1 1/2 miles on the main track in record time of 2:30.46, although the distance is run sparingly on the Polytrack synthetic surface.


Owned by B. Wayne Hughes and trained by Carla Gaines, Temple City, a 5-year-old by Dynaformer, has won 4 of 12 starts and $273,900.