Jockey David Cohen put Proud Tower Too on the lead and hung on in the final strides for an upset victory in the $101,000 On Trust Handicap for California-bred sprinters on Sunday at Hollywood Park.In the distaff half of two Cal-bred sprint stakes on the card, House of Fortune, a victim of misfortune during a ten-race drought, left nothing to chance as she sped to a front-running, 1 3/4-length victory under jockey Patrick Valenzuela in the co-featured $99,300 Cat's Cradle Handicap.
The stakes win for Proud Tower Too was the first for horse, trainer, and jockey at Hollywood Park. The bay colt by Proud Irish paid $16, $8.40, and $4.40 as the fourth choice in the field of seven state breds, setting up a Pick Six carryover of $125,061 when racing resumes Thursday. He completed the 7 1/2-furlong race in 1:27.37.
Jack's Wild, a neck back in second under Jose Valdivia Jr., paid $11.60 and $4.20, completing a $162.60 exacta. Favorite Areyoutalkintome, who had to settle for third after pushing Proud Tower Too until the head of the stretch, paid $2.60 to show."The key to this horse is to put him on the lead," winning trainer Sal Gonzalez said. "He is so brave on top that, if a horse comes up to him, he just keeps on going. So I told the rider, 'I want you to keep him in front. If somebody comes up to you, ask him to run a little bit, don't push the whole button.' And he rode him perfect."
Proud Tower Too, a 3-year-old owned and bred by Tricar Stables, won for the second time in his last three starts and for the fourth time in 15 lifetime races. The winner's share of $61,300 increased his earnings to $197,314.
Cohen not only rode Proud Tower Too perfectly, he chose him over Jack's Wild, who closed willingly but ran out of room at the wire."Funny thing, I worked this horse seven-eighths a couple weeks ago and he didn't really show too much for me," Cohen said. "He came back and I worked him in 1:12 last week, and he was tugging me the whole way around there. That was the big factor in my choosing to ride this horse over Jack's Wild."
House of Fortune, the 4-year-old daughter of Free House, covered 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:27.24 under 119 pounds to defeat Western Hemisphere in the field of seven California-bred fillies and mares. House of Fortune had not won since capturing the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) 18 months ago, but trainer Ron McAnally never lost faith in his filly."Her first win all year," McAnally said. "She's been right there. Her saddle slipped a couple times. Too many different things happened. We know she is a good filly. She's one of the best."House of Fortune, a winner of seven races and $714,185, finished second in the Cal Cup Matron in her most recent start Nov. 6 at Santa Anita Park.
"I thought today if we got a good break, and if I could get her to relax the first part, she would finish," Valenzuela said. "And that is exactly what she did. When she went into that last turn and switched to her left lead, she picked it up real nice. She ran her race today."
House of Fortune, owned by Arnold Zetcher of Boston, paid $5.80, $3 and $2.10 as the second choice. Western Hemisphere, with Garrett Gomez up, returned $3 and $2.10. Strut Your Stuff, another 4 3/4 lengths back in third under jockey Tyler Baze, paid $2.10.(Chart, Equibase)