Favorite Reba's Gold lost the lead briefly in mid-stretch, but battled back under jockey David Flores to capture Sunday's $72,850 Steinlen Handicap by a head over longshot Mercenary.
Owned by "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek, Reba's Gold was very game when hooked by Mercenary in the stretch drive after repelling a bid from Futural on the far turn. The 5-year-old son of Slew o' Gold covered the 1 1/16 miles on a muddy track in 1:44 3/5, rewarding backers with payoffs of $4.60, $3.60 and $2.60. Mercenary, ridden by Tyler Baze, paid $9.20 and $3.80, while Seinne returned $3.20 to show.
He was the lone favorite to win a Pick Six race, setting up a Pick Six carryover of $110,620 entering Monday's special holiday card at Hollywood Park.
The Steinlen, originally scheduled for turf but moved to the main track due to rain Friday and Saturday, proved to be a good prep for Reba's Gold, who is now headed for the Nov. 23 Japan Cup Dirt.
"Two weeks ago I estimated it would rain, it would come off the turf, and we'd run on the dirt and we'd win the race," trainer Dan Hendricks said. "It hadn't rained in two years; it worked out for us. Some things just seem to work out. We're all set (for Japan). We've got our passports in order. Reba stamped his yesterday. We planned on going up to today. If he comes up 100 percent tomorrow, he ships Tuesday."
Reba's Gold, a winner of seven of 28 starts, made $43,710 to increase his earnings to $468,212.
"The one thing I like about Reba is that he races in grade two, grade three, goes up, goes down, and he always does well, no matter what the company is," Trebek said. "So if he can do the same thing for us in Japan, I'll be very happy."