Victor's Cry Silences Shoemaker Foes at 21-1
Victor's Cry, with a perfectly timed ride from Corey Nakatani, nipped favorite Karelian by a short head to post a 21-1 stunner in the $249,500 Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park May 31.
The final time was an impressive 1:32.88 for Victor's Cry, who registered his first stakes win. The course mark is 1:32.59, established by Monterey Jazz May 24, 2009.
Chasing a sizzling pace, Victor's Cry had just a couple of of horses beaten at the head of the stretch. But Nakatani angled the Virginia-bred 5-year-old son of Street Cry out for the drive and they swept past the rest of the tiring field, overcoming pacesetter Mr Gruff and Karelian just in time.
"He had the look of eagles today," the affable Irishman Harty said of the winner. "He was really focused in the paddock. He was training super for this. At the top of the stretch, I thought that if he ran third, I'd be happy. But they were stopping up front. I can't believe he won!"
“Turning for home I felt all I needed was a spot to run," said Nakatani, who is based in Kentucky at the present after a long career in Southern California. "Right on that turn they kind of squirted away and I cut the corner and was able to swing out. I waited a little bit to make sure that when I did call on him he was there. He made a strong move from the three-eighths pole to get position and to be able to win the race I had to try to time it as best I could. "
Nakatani won the Shoemaker Mile (known as the Premiere Handicap until 1989) for the fifth time.
Bejarano said he had a good trip aboard Karelian.
"When I saw (Mr. Gruff) starting to stop in the stretch my horse really started running," Bejarano said. "He was running strong to the end but that other horse just caught us.”
"The fractions kind of hurt him," Talamo noted. "I was surprised they pressed him that much early. For his first time going a mile, I thought he ran tremendous. He’ll win a graded stakes around two turns eventually.”
It was three-quarters of a length to Gallant Son, who stalked from the rail but could not match strides with the winner late. Golden Balls, Global Hunter, Compari, Tangled Tango, and Blue Chagall completed the order.
Speedster Compari, the second choice, saw his six-race winning tear ended in a nightmare trip. Four wide on the first turn after breaking from the far outside for Joel Rosario, the Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) winner chased the leaders on the outside and was steadied in tight on the far turn when trying to advance between rivals. He had nothing left for the drive.
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