Follow the Money Edges Smooth Player in Dahlia Handicap

Follow the Money Edges Smooth Player in Dahlia Handicap
Photo: Associated Press / Equi Photo
Dahlia Handicap winner Follow the Money (#3), winning the Violet Handicap at the Meadowlands in September.
Follow the Money earned her second graded stakes win on the year in the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT), Saturday at Hollywood Park. With Victor Espinoza in the irons, Follow the Money rallied through the stretch, stopping the timer after running 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.71 on firm turf.

After winning the Violet Handicap (gr. IIIT) on a yielding Meadowlands turf course in September, Follow the Money was given a brief freshening by trainer David Hofmans. She returned to the races in early November, finishing 10th in the Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) after being blocked in the stretch.

"I rode another filly in the Las Palmas, but I saw this one, and she had a lot of trouble in that race," said Espinoza. "David Hofmans told me she was ready today, and I knew we had a big, big chance. ... She relaxed very nicely today and sat right behind the two leaders. When it was time to go, she took off, and I didn't think there was anybody that could catch me then."

Follow the Money won by a half-length over pacesetting Smooth Player, who finished a head in front of Beautiful Noise. Janet was a neck farther back in fourth, followed by Diamond White, Brianda, and Coracle.

Follow the Money earned $90,000 for owners Christopher and Patricia Elia. The 4-year-old daughter of Pine Bluff out of Money Player, by Marshua's Dancer, has won six of 12 career starts. She was bred in Kentucky by her owners.

Follow the Money paid $18.60, $6.80 and $3. Smooth Player returned $3.40 and $2.40. Beautiful Noise was worth $2.40 to show. The $1 exacta paid $30.90. (Chart, Equibase)

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