Harris Farms' homebred Lucky J.H. prevailed in a terrific stretch duel with the veteran sprinter Captain Squire to win the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Saturday, giving the 4-year-old colt his third straight win.
With Patrick Valenzuela aboard for trainer Carla Gaines, Lucky J.H. moved up along the inside to engage the pacesetting Captain Squire midway on the turn of the 7 1/2-furlong event. The pair fought down the stretch, with Captain Squire and Corey Nakatani coming back on near the sixteenth pole before giving way in the last strides to lose by 1 1/4 lengths. The final time was 1:29 3/5 for the unusual distance.
It was the first start for the 7-year-old gelding Captain Squire, a grade I winner in October, since he ran fourth in the six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba in March.
The first two finishers each carried top weight of 119 pounds.
Lucky J.H., a bay colt by Cee's Tizzy
-Lucky C.H. (A.P. Indy
) owned and bred by John Harris, notched his first graded stakes victory while making it back-to-back added-money scores. He won the Tiznow for Cal-breds in his prior start April 30 at Saturday's distance, and was a four-length victor in a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita in February before that.
Favored Captain Squire took the lead over Keep On Punching coming out of the gate and established a one-length lead while completing the opening quarter-mile in :22. Lucky J.H., who broke well from the rail, settled into second along the inside after a half-mile in :44 3/5. There was room on the inside as Captain Squire set the pace on the turn and Valenzuela took advantage to contest for the lead. There was little between them as they completed six furlongs in 1:09 1/5 and Lucky J.H. finally pulled away late under strong urging.
The second choice in the field of seven, Lucky J.H. won for the fifth time in 11 starts and paid $7, $3.40 and $2.60. Captain Squire returned $3.20 and $2.40. Primerica, ridden by David Flores, was 6 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up in third, paying $2.80.
Prorunner finished fourth, followed by Keep On Punching, Thudner Touch and Saint Buddy. Yes He's a Pistol scratched.
Lucky J.H. earned $60,000 for the victory and has banked $330,435.