Claiborne Farm's Patrol likes a firm turf and when he finally found it Saturday at Lone Star Park, he proved much the best in the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup.
Patrol had been on the sidelines at rain-plagued Belmont Park since a third-place finish in the Woodford Reserve (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs. Twice trainer Bill Mott scratched him because of off tracks. Finally given a chance, Patrol, the 6-5 favorite, registered a one-length victory over Slew The Red in a time of 1:48 3/5 for the 1 1/8-mile turf test. It was the fastest running of the race since Yaqthan recorded the stakes and course record of 1:45 2/5 in 1998. Storybook Kid was third.
As a result, Hall of Fame horseman Mott, added the richest turf race in Texas to his resumé.
Ridden by Mike Luzzi, the son of Lear Fan anxiously pulled along in third for much of the route, edging to the outside on the turn for home and passing early leader Honorable Pic and pace- prompting Best of KC at the three-sixteenths marker. Patrol established a clear lead in the stretch and held off the closing Slew The Red, ridden by Matt Garcia, under steady urging. Storybook Kid came from far back in the field of 10 to finish another length behind the first two.
"He was a little rank into the first turn, rightfully so, because he's a speed horse," New York-based Luzzi said. "It took me a while to get him turned off, but I did finally get him turned off. Turning home, I had to turn him on again, and he finished up nice for me."
"I thought I had [Patrol] at the eighth pole, but the other horse had a little more gas left in the tank," said Slew The Red's rider Garcia.
The pace of :23 3/5, :47 and 1:11 2/5 was moderate.
Patrol won for the sixth time in 10 career races and has nine in-the-money performances. The victory was worth $150,000 to his owner and breeder and improved his earnings total to $398,920.
The winner paid $4.60, $2.80 and $2.60. Slew The Red returned $4 and $3.20. Storybook Kid showed for $5. The $2 exacta was worth $22.80. The Dallas Turf Cup was the final leg of the NTRA Summer Pick 3, which returned $29.40 for a $2 wager. All three legs were won by heavy favorites.