Victory U.S.A. Romps in Moccasin; Krone Bags 4
Date Posted: 11/16/2003 7:01:49 PM
Last Updated: 11/16/2003 7:37:28 PM

Thomas Van Meter II's Victory U.S.A., third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) had an easy time of it Sunday, winning the $100,000 Moccason Stakes at Hollywood Park by seven lengths.

Ridden by Julie Krone at 113 pounds, Victory U.S.A. covered the seven furlongs on the dirt course in 1:22 2/5. Sent off as the overwhelming 1-5 favorite, the 2-year-old filly paid $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10.

The daughter of Victory Gallop raced in fifth for most of the way, then rallied three wide and drew off in the stretch to easily defeat Quanah County, who had two lengths on Hot Weekend.

"She just took off," said Krone, who won the first three races on Sunday's card and added a fourth later in the day. "She had a little breather going into the turn, I chirped at her and threw a cross. Whoosh, she really took off."

Quanah County, with jockey Alex Solis aboard, paid $3.60 and $2.10. Hot Weekend finished third and paid $2.10. There was a negative show pool of $115,657.

"When she broke out of the gate, I kind of put my hands on her neck, and she just patted the ground and slowed down," Krone said.

"All of the other horses just took off. I was thinking, okay, this is what she's supposed to do. I didn't really realize how far back I was until I watched the video after the race. But I can't say I was really concerned."

Trainer Bob Baffert said he wasn't concerned either.

"I was interested to see what she was going to do with her," Baffert said of Krone. "I liked that she had her back. Basically I just gave Julie the reins, you know, tried to get her to relax. That is why I put her on there.

"She said she dropped her head. We wanted her to learn to run that way. If she can run that way the further she can go."

The Moccasin was Victory U.S.A.'s second win in five career starts. After breaking her maiden this summer at Del Mar, she finished in the money in three grade I races, the most recent being the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 25.

Previously, she had shipped east to finish second in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont after finishing third to Halfbridled in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I).

The winner's share of $60,000 increased Victory U.S.A.'s total earnings to $329,400. Baffert said her next start would be the Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 21.

(Chart, Equibase)

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