Under Laffit Pincay Jr., California-bred Road to Slew edged clear of Hollycombe and held off the late challenge of a slew of horses to win the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) by one length, Saturday at Santa Anita. On a turf track listed as good, Road to Slew completed the distance in 1:35.96. In a blanket finish for second, Val Royal edged both Exchange Rate and betting favorite Hawksley Hill by a head, with the latter two finishing in a dead heat for third. Deploy Venture was fifth, another neck farther back. Sardaukar, Hollycombe, Fateful Dream, Yaralino, and Otalvo completed the order of finish.
"He ran a super race today," said Pincay. "He hadn't run in a little while, but he's a horse who really tries hard. He was a bit fresh, and I just tried not to fight him and get him to relax. Coming down the stretch, boy, was he ever trying. Every time they came up to him, he had a little bit more. It's just a pleasure to ride a horse that tries so hard like this guy does. Yes, he has talent, but he's a real fighter."
A 6-year-old gelding, Road to Slew (Slewpy--Plumeria Lei, by Bold Tropic) is trained by Craig Dollase and earned $240,000 for owner-breeder Nick Cafarchia. The win marks his sixth in 21 career starts and first in a non-restricted stakes race. Last year, Road to Slew won both the Ralph M. Scurfield California Cup Mile and the Crystal Water Handicaps.
"He was working well and we were very fortunate to get a work into him the other day on the turf course before it started raining last Sunday," said Dollase. "It worked out real well. He came home good. Laffit (Pincay Jr.) knows how to ride this horse. I told him the two (Hollycombe) might show a little speed, which he did, and we sat in the perfect spot. Dad (trainer Wally Dollase, who saddled Yaralino) scared me a little bit. Coming up alongside me, I thought he was going to put us in a bad spot, but it all worked out good."
Road to Slew returned $9.80, $5.60, and $2.60. Val Royal paid $9.60 and $3.60. Hawksley Hill and Exchange Rate both paid $2.20 to show. The $1 exacta returned $52.10. (Chart, Equibase