Oil Man struck graded gold for the first time when he surged past his rivals with a big late kick in the $100,000 Cinema Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) on the Hollywood Park turf June 21.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, the Irish-bred colt took the overland route to post a one-length win over the pacesetting maiden Arcodoro in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds. Massone, the 6-5 favorite in the field of six, stalked the pace on the inside for most of the journey and finished a close third. The final time was 1:48.72.
Arcodoro, ridden by Joe Talamo, spurted to a four-length lead on the clubhouse turn and opened up by five or so on the backstretch before Flashmans Papers, Herr Mozart , and Massone began to quickly cut into the advantage heading into the final turn. Oil Man, the second choice, had one beat at that point, but Rosario took him to the outside and gave him his head. Arcodoro, under pressure, was able to regain command in upper stretch as most of his other challengers yielded.
But Rosario gave Oil Man, who had been drifting toward the inside in upper stretch, a couple of cracks left-handed and the bay responded. He swept past the rest of the field, including Arcodoro in the final sixteenth of a mile, with his jockey hand-riding him to the wire.
"I wanted to stay a little closer today because there wasn't a lot of speed in the race,” Rosario said. “I asked him for run turning for home and he responded real good. He finished up real strong."
Arcodoro, who posted quarter-mile fractions of :24.50, :48.56 and 1:13.04, wound up a surprisingly game second by a neck over Massone, who was ridden by Garrett Gomez. Herr Mozart, Dover Street Art, and Flashmans Papers followed.
Oil Man, who began his career with one win in four tries in Great Britain, notched his first U.S. victory in his last start, rallying from far back to win a first-level allowance race at 1 1/8 miles by a nose on the Hollywood turf April 19.
Owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and Michael Tala and trained by John Sadler, the son of Pyrus had two prior attempts in graded stakes company. He ran sixth in the Robert B. Lewis (gr. II) on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface in February and was seventh in Keeneland's Transylvania (gr. IIIT) on the turf prior to his allowance win at Hollywood. His overall mark stands at 3-1-1 in 10 starts with earnings of $107,194.
“He showed that he really wants long distance,” Sadler said. “He’ll stay forever."
Bred by Diana Webley, Oil Man is out of So Precious, by Batshoof.
The winner carried 115 pounds and paid $6.40, $3.40, and $2.80 while topping a $2 exacta worth $92.80 with the 17-1 shot Arcodoro, who returned $10.40 and $4.40. Massone, coming off a third-place finish in the Alcatraz Stakes in his turf debut at Golden Gate Fields May 23, was worth $2.40 to show. Though he has just one win in 12 starts, Massone has finished in the money in nine consecutive starts for trainer Ron McAnally.
"I had a perfect trip,” Gomez said of the favorite. “I saved all the ground on both turns, split horses and didn't have to come off the fence too much. But I pointed him for the hole and he didn't quicken very much — just kind of stayed at the same pace."
Elusive Bluff and Arden Park scratched.