Whatsthescript, ridden by Isaias D. Enriquez, split horses near the eighth pole and ran down the tiring pacesetter Storm Military in deep stretch to tally by 1 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/8-mile American. The Irish-bred Whatsthescript won for the fourth time in six starts since transferring to the U.S. in the fall of 2006.
John Sadler saddled Whatsthescript for the first time for owner Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, and said afterward that he wasn't looking for a win from the 4-year-old son of Royal Applause, who had been off since a last-place finish in the Sir Beaufort (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Dec. 26.
"He's been training really well," said Sadler, who won the Landaluce Stakes with the 2-year-old filly Emmy Darling in the race preceding the American. "He's done well for everyone who has had him. My job was to top him off. We were actually looking for a classified allowance before the Eddie Read. But it didn't look like one would turn up, so we thought if he could run well here, we'd move on to Del Mar."
Storm Military broke smartly for Rafael Bejarano to get the jump on Daytona, the 124-pound top weight who won the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) handily in his last start. The pace wasn't that hot -- :23.65 for the opening quarter mile, :47.28 for the half and 1:10.60 for six furlongs -- but the two leaders were neck-and-neck for most of the journey. Daytona, ridden by Alex Solis, gave it up in the lane and Storm Military opened up by about two lengths with three-sixteenths of a mile to run. But the Bobby Frankel trainee could not hold off Whatsthescript, who turned in an an impressive kick home to win in a time of 1:46.34.
Storm Military was a clear second by 1 1/4 lengths over Hyperbaric, who was trapped on the rail in the stretch run and finished up well enough to get third under Garrett Gomez.
"I was really under pressure the whole way," Bejarano said of the runner-up. "My horse tried hard. It looked like he was going to win the race but that other horse was too much."
Daytona was seeking his seventh win in eight starts and had a pair of grade I wins on the Hollywood Park turf.
"He felt fine, he just didn't fire today, that's all," Solis said. "I was laying right where I wanted to be but when we turned for home he just didn't have any fight in him. But I think he's OK, at least we're hoping."
Whatsthescript earned his fifth lifetime win 10 starts while increasing his bankroll to $337,734. The bay won the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the course in November 2006 and ran second in the American Turf (gr. IIIT) over a yielding Churchill Downs ground May 4, 2007.
"The only race that we had no luck was in Kentucky (American Turf), and that was my fault," Enriquez said. "I should have taken cover but they kept pushing me wider and wider and that cost me the race. I wasn't going to make that mistake again. I was right behind horses and as soon as a hole opened I went for it and he just exploded. This is the best horse I've ever ridden and I think this was his best race."
The winner carried 114 pounds to victory and paid $60.20, $19.60 and $15.40. The Argentine-bred Storm Military, coming off a nose loss in the Dallas Turf Championship (gr. IIIT) at Lone Star Park May 26, returned $7 and $7 and completed a $2 exacta worth $308. Hyperbaric, who ran third in the Shoemaker Mile last time for Julio Canani, was $4.60 to show.
Heroi Do Bafra finished fourth, followed by Becrux, Daytona and Worldly. Albertus Maximus scratched.