Riviera Holds Off Arkadian Hero in Atto Mile
Photo: Associated Press/ Michael Burns
Riviera, right, ridden by jockey John Velazquez holds off Arkadian Hero ridden by jockey Jamie Spencer to capture the Atto Mile at Woodbine on Sunday.
Riviera took a short lead in the stretch and held off the late charge of Arkadian Hero to win the $1-million Atto Mile (Can-IT) by a nose Sunday at Woodbine. With John Velazquez in the irons, the 6-year-old Bobby Frankel trainee completed the mile in 1:33.18 over a firm turf course. The win is the second graded stakes win for Riviera, who previously won the Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) due to the disqualification of Kahal. Sent off at nearly 11-1, Riviera returned $23.10, $10.90, and $7.30. Arkadian Hero dwelt in the gate before closing for second. The 21-1 longshot paid $24.90 and $11.10, while completing the $441.20 exacta. Affirmed Success returned $5.20 to show.

While the second-place horse remained in the gate after the start, the winner held up the start of the race by refusing to load into the gate.

"They keep a truck running back there to get power for the gate and once he got close he really didn't like it," Velazquez said of Riviera's problems entering the gate. "Once he got in, he didn't break as sharply as he usually does and I was just trying to keep him together and save some ground around the turn and pull him out. But when I pulled him out, he really responded."

Riviera (Kris--Manureva, by Nureyev) was bred in France by Janus Bloodstock Inc. and is owned by Edmund A. Gann. He earned $600,000 for the win, his ninth in 17 starts. Riviera came into the Atto Mile out of a second-place finish in the restricted Wickerr Handicap, but he was again placed first via the disqualification of American Spirit.

Betting favorite Ladies Din finished fourth, followed by Muhtathir, Think Red, Honest Lady, Heliotrope, Cracker's Folly, Solitary Dancer, Kahal, Valid N Bold, and Dawson's Legacy. (Chart, Equibase)

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