The 5-year-old son of Curlin closed wide outside under jockey Joe Talamo and finished with a powerful kick for a 3 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/2-mile turf test, his first win in 14 months.
"I knew he could do it if he had the best ride. He doesn't like horses on the outside of him. Joe gave him a perfect ride, and watching him win by the lengths that he won by, I'm elated," owner Elise Williamson told TVG's Britney Eurton. "I love this horse. Our (Great Commotion mare) Blending Element is the mare, and Curlin, well, it doesn't get any better."
Texas Ryano, the 2-1 second choice in a field of six, came off a sixth in the Nov. 5 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and found the winner's circle for the first time in eight starts, dating back to his Sept. 27 victory in the 2015 King Pellinore Stakes at Santa Anita Park. He was eighth in that year's edition of the Hollywood Turf Cup, his graded debut for trainer Carla Gaines.
"He broke well today," said Gaines. "It was a dawdling pace, but he was able to stay close. In the Breeders' Cup he was so far back, and often is so far back. He broke well today, found a good position, made his tremendous kick, and it worked brilliantly."
Royal Albert Hall showed the way through the Hollywood Turf Cup, setting fractions of :24.60, :49.86, and 1:14.85 before being overtaken by Texas Ryano. Ashleyluvssugar, favored at 4-5, tried to make a run from second, but the eventual winner drew off under steady urging to win in a final time of 2:27.92.
Ashleyluvssugar, piloted by Gary Stevens and conceding four pounds to the winner, 124-120, held on well after being passed and was 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Flamboyant, who completed the trifecta by a nose.
Texas Ryano paid $6.60, $3.20, and $2.10, while the victory pushed the Kentucky-bred's earnings to $438,355 with a 5-3-3 record from 18 starts. Ashleyluvssugar returned $2.40 and $2.10, and Flamboyant (FR) brought $2.60. Power Foot, Quick Casablanca, and the pacesetter completed the order of finish. Ralis was scratched.
Blending Element has been a foundation mare for the Williamson program, producing all winners from her nine foals to race. Of those, three won stakes, two are graded stakes winners—Texas Ryano and 2008 Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) winner Tiz Elemental—and two are grade II stakes-placed. Blending Element's last reported foal is a 2015 Tiznow filly.