Belgravia Avoids Dilemma in Hollywo
A $2 million Fasig-Tipton buy in February by Michael Tabor, John Magnier, and Zayat Stables, the 2-year-old son of Mr. Greeley provided a stirring finish with Julien Leparoux in the irons for trainer Patrick Biancone. Belgravia established himself as a serious contender for the Dec. 16 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I).
Belgravia, well in hand while racing in fifth off the rail for most of the seven-furlong journey, rallied on the outside to get the lead approaching the eighth pole. But he had to withstand a furious bid from Dilemma, the most accomplished runner in the field, who rallied from next-to-last on the turn for Alex Solis. Belgravia didn't help his cause, either, by drifting out through the stretch under left-handed urging from Leparoux. Even so, the final time was a strong 1:22 2/5.
"He's still a big baby," Leparoux said. "When he got to the front, he started looking around. But he's a very good 2-year-old. I like him a lot."
Notional, the 6-5 favorite in the field of seven, finished third, five lengths behind, with Corey Nakatani aboard. The loss ended a five-race winning streak for Nakatani, who came within one victory of matching Hollywood Park's all-time record of six wins in a day by a jockey.
Biancone won the Prevue and Futurity three years ago with eventual Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runner-up Lion Heart.
Unbeaten in two starts, both of Belgravia's victories have come on all-weather tracks. The smart-looking chestnut broke his maiden at first asking in off-the-pace fashion by nearly two lengths in a 6 1/2-furlong heat at Keeneland Oct. 18. Belgravia has earned $91,225.
"In his first start, he was a little bit blocked; but, when I asked him, he really went," Leparoux said. "I was pretty much alone at the top of the stretch and, when (Dilemma) came up to him, he really dug in and took off again. He has speed, but he seems like he really wants to go on. I thought I won, but I was just hoping I did."
Margaret Patterson and Spendthrift Farm bred Belgravia, who is out of Peaks Mill (by Stalwart), in Kentucky.
Chief's Magic, Belgravia's entry mate, broke on top but settled into second as outsider Hurry Up Austin pushed his way to the front and carved solid fractions of :22 2/5 and :45 3/5. Notional, also racing close up, challenged for the lead before Belgravia surged past.
Sent off as the second choice, the entry paid $6, $2.80, and $2.10. Dilemma, who won the Sunny Slope at Santa Anita in his last start, returned $3.60 and $2.10. Notional, a powerful maiden debut winner at Santa Anita Oct. 21, was $2.10 to show.
Hurry Up Austin finished fourth, followed by Marked Warrior, Pawnee, and Chief's Magic. Prime Ruler scratched.
Nakatani, meanwhile, rode his first five mounts to victory, connecting with Double Major ($27.80) in the second race, Saratoga's Magic ($6) in the fourth, Count Orange ($8.80) in the fifth, Leave a Message ($13) in the sixth, and I'll Prey For You ($6.60) in the seventh.
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