Yankee Victor continued to display his fondness for one-turn mile races Sunday, winning the $100,000 Hanshin Handicap (gr. III) by 3 3/4 lengths at Arlington International. Under a hand ride by Heberto Castillo Jr., Yankee Victor led all the way, completing the mile in 1:34.97.
Bright Valour chased Yankee Victor from the start while in second place. After spotting the winner a four-length lead after a half run in :46.45 seconds, Bright Valour made a run at the lead from the outside at the end of the turn. As they arrived at the top of the stretch, Desert Demon also began to rally along the rail. With no urging from Castillo, Yankee Victor widened his margin to ensure the victory.
"He did it pretty easy," said Castillo. "Once he got a clear break he got the first quarter pretty easy and at the top of the stretch he just took over."
Bright Valour finished second, followed by Desert Demon, Battle Mountain, and Beboppin Baby.
Yankee Victor is a 4-year-old trained by Carlos Morales for owners Moreton Binn and Enllomar Stable Enrique Llorante. The Hanshin win marks his fourth straight victory, all in one-turn miles. He came into the Hanshin off a 4 3/4-length win in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) after winning an Aqueduct allowance race by the same margin. In April, he defeated Pimlico Special (gr. I) and Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. II) winner Golden Missile by 3 3/4 lengths in the Westchester Handicap. He earned $60,000 for the win, his ninth in 19 career starts.
Yankee Victor (Saint Ballado--Highest Carol, by Caro) was bred in Florida by Rodney Lundock and was purchased for $75,000 as a 2-year-old.
Yankee Victor paid $2.20, $2.10, and $2.10 across the board. The exacta returned $4.80.
"Right now our main goal is the Whitney (gr. I) at Saratoga. I'll sit down with the owners and decide what to do before then," said Morales. (Chart, Equibase