Somethinaboutlaura successfully defended her title in the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, winning a spirited stretch duel with outsider Strong Faith on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track Friday night.
Odds-on choice Pussycat Doll, carrying high weight of 124 pounds, faded out of the money in the stretch, contributing to some big show prices and a $25,525.50 return on the $1 superfecta.
Somethinaboutlaura, a 5-year-old Dance Floor mare, benefitted from the extreme outside post in the field of 10 under Victor Espinoza where they could let the pace unfold while stalking the leaders of the seven-furlong event. In the stretch,
Somethinaboutlaura, under strong urging from Espinoza, gradually drew even on the outside with 51-1 shot Strong Faith, who had put away Getback Time after splits of :22 2/5 and :45. Somethinaboutlaura gained command in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:21 4/5.
“She always runs like she's in slow motion, but she's right there every single time," Espinoza marveled. "She's just a great mare. She seems to be relaxing better now that she's getting older. She takes her time and doesn't spend her energy in the beginning. She just keeps going and going, and she loves doing it."
The California-bred chestnut made it four victories in a row after winning the B Thoughtful at Hollywood, the Work the Crowd Handicap at Golden Gate Fields, and the Redondo Beach at Hollywood Park this spring. Her last two starts were on the turf for owners Miller, Sikura, Todaro, et al. The distance specialist improved to three wins and a second in five tries at seven panels. Overall, the consistent mare has won 15 of 27 and earned $913,315.
Somethinaboutlaura won last year's A Gleam by a nose over Maryfield. She carried 122 pounds Friday night.
“I’m very, very proud of her that she can win back-to-back like that," Hollendorfer said. "I’m not going to pick an optimum trip that she has because she’s very versatile. We’ve been so lucky that she does everything we ask of her, not many horses do that.
"Victor and I talked before the race, and we wanted to be a little bit back off the pace. We thought that horses were getting beaten in the final strides here tonight, so we didn’t really want her out on the lead. I haven’t made any plans for her yet, but we got this one so we’re happy about that.”
Lilley Ranch bred the winner, who is out of Crystals of Ice, by It's Freezing.
She paid $12.60, $6.80, and $9.
Strong Faith, who ran seventh in the Redondo Beach last out, returned $33.20 and $29.20 with Martin Garcia in the saddle.
“She’s a difficult filly to ride because, if you try and take a little hold, she just pulls and pulls," Garcia said. "She just likes to run free. She ran great, because the filly that beat her is really good. My filly does seem to like the Cushion Track better than turf."
“She out-ran her odds, didn’t she?” added trainer Jeff Mullins.
It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Theverythoughof U, ridden by Joe Talamo and paying $9.
The $2 exacta returned $488.80 and the $1 trifecta was $1,419.
The Chilean-bred Dona Amelia got up for fourth, followed by Getback Time, Pussycat Doll, River Savage, Clinet, Candy Jo, and Political Web.