Irish-bred Hoh Buzzard gained command in the stretch of the $100,000 Brown Bess Handicap, repelling a late challenge from Uraib to win the closing-day feature by 1 1/4 lengths on the grass at Golden Gate Fields Sunday.
Ridden by Tony Farina for trainer Ben Cecil and owner Gary Tanaka, Hoh Buzzard, the 6-5 choice in a field of eight, ended a three-race Southern California losing streak. The 5-year-old mare won for the first time since taking the Mrs. Revere (gr. IIT) Nov. 15, 2003 at Churchill Downs in her second United States start after transferring from Great Britain.
Hoh Buzzard was close to the pace set by Marty's Zee from the outset, took over on the second turn and pulled away, only to be threatened a second time by Uraib and rider Chance Rollins. The daughter of Alhaarth responded once more with a winning surge as Uraib, the second favorite, settled for the runner-up spot.
Hooked On Niners rallied for third under Joey Castro, 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner. The final time was 1:44 3/5 for the 1 1/16-mile event, which was contested on soft going.
Marty's Zee clicked off moderate fractions of :23 3/5, :48 2/5 and 1:13 before giving way, finishing seventh in the field of eight.
Hoh Buzzard, who was out of action for more than nine months last year before returning with a sixth-place finish in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) Oct. 2 at Santa Anita Park, won for the sixth time in 16 lifetime starts. The $55,000 winning purse Sunday increased her earnings to $286,839. She was fifth in her last start, the one-mile Matriarch (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 28, after pressing the pace for six furlongs.
She paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.40. Uraib returned $3.40 and $2.60. Hooked On Niners was $3.80 to show.