Favored Siren Lure, ridden by Alex Solis, came flying off the turn to collar the pacesetters Battle Won and Unfurl the Flag, taking command approaching the sixteenth pole to win the $300,000 Triple Bend invitational Handicap (gr. I) by 1 1/2 lengths.
The sizzling Siren Lure, claimed for $50,000 at Bay Meadows by Northern California-based trainer Art Sherman in May 2005, won for the eighth time in his last 11 starts. Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian are the owners of the 5-year-old Joyeux Danseur gelding who was coming off a one-length win in the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park May 13.
"Very neat horse, just loves to win," said Solis, his regular rider since the summer of 2005. "It's so cool when you get to know horses like him, we get along really good. You get to know his habits, we make a good combination."
Sherman picked up his first grade I win in the Triple Bend after 30 years as a trainer.
"I just love this horse. He's all racehorse," Sherman said. "He's a trainer's dream, actually. Alex loves to ride him – he says he's all heart. I'm not sure he wouldn't go a flat mile, too. Someday down the line maybe he'll give that a try."
The final time for the seven-furlong Triple Bend was a solid 1:21 1/5. Siren Lure carried top weight of 121 pounds.
Unfurl the Flag, ridden by Jon Court, assured a rapid pace, busting out of the gate to register an opening quarter mile of :21 3/5. Unfurl the Flag carried the 10-horse field into the turn after a half-mile in :43 4/5 but was forced to fend off Battle Won, ridden by Victor Espinoza, who was always close and eventually gained a slight advantage in upper stretch.
Siren Lure, however, was set up nicely by the fast fractions while racing toward the back of the pack and hit the stretch under a full head of steam for Solis. Siren Lure won in a drive with Battle Won holding onto second by one length over Unfurl the Flag.
"Aw man, so close," said Espinoza. "(Battle Won) tried so hard. It was my first time riding him, but he just ran unbelievable."
Publication, last of the field as they approached the turn, finished up nicely to get fourth, 2 1/4 lengths behind Unfurl the Flag. Then came Areyoutalkintome, Vortex, Seattle Buddy, Prorunner, Trickey Trevor and Thunder Touch.
Siren Lure is now 3-for-3 on the Hollywood Park main track. Overall, he has won 11 of 19 starts and earned $589,909.
Sent off as the lukewarm 3-1 favorite in the evenly-matched race, Siren Lure paid $8.60, $4 and $3.20. Battle Won returned $5.80 and $4. Unfurl the Flag was $5.80 to show.