The initial foray into horse racing for Los Angeles Lakers stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol was as brief as it was heartbreaking June 17 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Not only did Siempre Mio lose by a nose in the first race for his new owners in the Hollywood Park opener. The 4-year-old gelding was also claimed out of the race for $12,500.
Bryant and Gasol had each purchased an interest in the horse at a Lakers charity April 24. They were partners in Siempre Mio with Santa Anita’s chief executive officer Mark Verge (Westside Rentals.com) and Michael Sullivan. The son of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winning sire Dixie Union was trained by Doug O'Neill, winner of the first two jewels of this year's Triple Crown with I'll Have Another .
Bidding for his second win in a row, Siempre Mio quickly established the lead as the 9-5 second choice under jockey Joy Scott. They maintained a clear advantage into the stretch and fought back bravely when challenged. But Siempre Mio ultimately lost the photo to 3-5 favorite Valkyrie Missile. The final time for the six furlongs over Cushion Track was 1:10.80.
Siempre Mio, who has won two of six races with two seconds, raced in bright gold silks that featured a Laker emblem and purple cap for the rider. He was claimed by Donkey Island Racing, a partnership managed by Alex Solis, Jr. and a client list that includes New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and trainer Mark Glatt. There were five other claims for Siempre Mio.