Camp Victory was declared the official winner of the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park when Amazombie, first across the line, was disqualified after bulling his way to the front in mid-stretch May 30.
Amazombie, ridden by Mike Smith, was placed third by stewards after bumping repeatedly with M One Rifle while trying to make the lead. Amazombie got the advantage at the sixteenth pole and pulled away to finish a half-length in front of 8-1 shot Camp Victory, who was also bumped at mid-stretch.
Camp Victory was ridden by Joe Talamo for trainer Mike Mitchell, who conditions the 4-year-old son of Forest Camp--Victory Trick (by Clever Trick) for owners Featherston, Jacobsen and Miller. M One Rifle, finishing 1 1/2 lengths farther back with Chantal Sutherland aboard, was moved up to second. The winning time for six furlongs on Cushion Track was 1:08.87.
Nine days after being disqualified out of a graded stakes win with St Trinians in the Milady Handicap (gr. II), Mitchell and Talamo had the stewards’ decision go their way.
“My horse did get affected a little bit when Mike’s horse (Amazombie) came out," Talamo said. "He bumped Chantal’s horse and then Chantal’s bumped mine pretty good."
"I really thought (Camp Victory) was going to win turning for home. Then he got bumped and shifted his weight a little bit. He was athletic enough to pick himself up and get going again. I think it would have really been close if I wouldn’t have gotten bumped."
As in the Milady, Mitchell said he thought stewards made the right call.
"I thought that (Amazombie) came out and he should have been placed third," he said. "It looked like he hit Chantal’s horse and Chantal’s horse hit my horse. There was enough interference where I felt it should have come down. The rear end of our horse got hit pretty good."
Claimed for $40,000 in February, Camp Victory got his first career stakes win and his fourth victory in his past six races. He has won two of three for his current connections, finishing second by a nose to Regally Ready in the San Simeon Handicap (gr. IIIT) over Santa Anita's hillside course at 6 1/2 furlongs in his previous start April 16.
"The one thing I wanted to do with this horse, because he’s by Forest Camp is not run him long," Mitchell said. "Those horses want to run short."
Camp Victory, who added blinkers in the Los Angeles, won for the seventh time in 16 lifetime races. He has earned $233,986.
Cost of Freedom, the 8-5 favorite, led the field to mid-stretch while heavily pressured by Indian Firewater through an opening quarter mile in :22.20 and the half in :44.40. Cost of Freedom weakened afterward and finsihed fifth.
Amazombie, stalking in fifth along the inside, was crying out for room in upper stretch and Smith guided him to a small opening between M One Rifle and the tiring Cost of Freedom. There was quite a bit of bumping with M One Rifle taking the worst of it. Camp Victory, racing four wide, also was tapped.
Camp Victory bid strongly on the outside but could not catch Amazombie, who was seeking his third consecutive stakes win and finished gamely. M One Rifle recovered sufficiently to edge Indian Firewater by a half-length. They were followed by Cost of Freedom and Gato Go Win.
“I felt like (Camp Victory) kind of touched or brushed (with M One Rifle),"Sutherland said. "So I wanted to get away from him a touch. I could see a hole that probably Mike wanted to go for (on Amazombie) and it was just tiny, unfortunately. He got me pretty good."
Stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer and Tom Ward issued a statement afterward. They ruled that Amazombie “went for a hole without sufficient clearance,’’ causing interference to both M One Rifle and Camp Victory and “costing both horses a chance at a better placing.’’
Sent off as the fourth choice, Camp Victory carried 114 pounds and paid $18.40, $7.40, and $3.80. M One Rifle, who set a Cushion Track record at Hollywood for five furlongs in winning the Cool Frenchy Stakes in his last start May 7, returned $4.60 and $2.80. The exacta was worth $77.20. Amazombie, the 2-1 second choice who shared top weight of 122 pounds with Cost of Freedom, was $2.60 to show.
Supreme Summit was scratched.