Stud Old Dog Stable's Big Ten, making his second start in the country for trainer Richard Mandella, pressed the early pace of Scooter Brown on the way to a 3/4-length win over Early Pioneer in Sunday's $250,000 Californian Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park. The 5-year-old son of Barkerville completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.22 over a fast track.
Under jockey Alex Solis, Big Ten took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off the late charge of 7-10 favorite Early Pioneer to complete the victory. "After the disappointment yesterday, this is a great reward," said Solis, referring to his second-place finish on Aptitude in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). "I could have gone to the lead (on the backstretch) if I wanted to, I just decided that I just wanted to stay right next to the other horse (Scooter Brown)."
Big Ten was bred in Chile by Haras Mocito Guapo. The farm also bred graded stakes winners Malek and Memo, who were trained by Mandella.
In Chile as a 3-year-old, Big Ten won the Gran Criterium (Chi-I) and the Premio Dos Mil Guineas (Chi-I). The Californian win marks his first stakes win since 1998. He finished fourth in his prior American start, a Hollywood Park allowance race on turf. He earned $150,000 for the win, his sixth in 14 career starts. Mandella indicated Big Ten would likely join stablemate Out Of Mind as a starter in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I).
As the third wagering choice in the five-horse field, Big Ten returned $10.20, $3.60 and $2.10. The $1 exacta paid $12.30.
Mojave Moon finished third, 8 1/2 lengths behind Early Pioneer. Scooter Brown and Dancing Afleet completed the order of finish. (Chart, Equibase