Old Time Hockey Slaps La Jolla Field
Old Time Hockey, racing at Del Mar two hours south of where the Los Angeles Kings recently won their first Stanley Cup, prevailed in a wild three-horse photo finish to win the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 11 (VIDEO) .
In this test for 3-year-olds, Old Time Hockey was making his first go of it in graded stakes company, coming out of a third-place finish in a division of the Oceanside Stakes July 18. Raced by his breeder, Glen Hill Farm, the gelded Florida-bred son of Smarty Jones covered the 8 1/2 furlongs in a snappy 1:40.55.
Tom Proctor, who has been coming to Del Mar most of his life first as the son of trainer Willard Proctor and lately under power of his own trainer's license, has now won with five runners at the current meeting from just 11 starts.
With the raceday scratch of Facoltoso, only four runners contested the La Jolla. My Best Brother, a full brother to grade I winner Stormello, was bet down to 6/5 favoritism off three consecutive victories, including one in the other division of the Oceanside. He hadn't been headed in either of his last two wins, and looked good for a four-peat early on in the La Jolla.
Under jockey Martin Garcia, My Best Brother cleared the short field from the outside post, and was ahead by three lengths before the first turn. Getting the first quarter in :23.80 and a half in a pedestrian :47.85, My Best Brother was in the driver's seat.
Down the backstretch, Chips All In and rider Garrett Gomez took a run at the leader but were quickly rebuffed. As the field cleared six furlongs in 1:10.72, Joe Talamo took Old Time Hockey for a drive on the outside. My Best Brother was stubborn on the lead, however, and maintained an advantage until the final sixteenth, when Old Time Hockey on the grandstand side and Chips All In between them lined up as one with My Best Brother coming down to the wire. Old Time Hockey got his nose on the line first, with My Best Brother, who was giving the winner four pounds, a nostril in front of Chips All In. Blingo completed the order of finish.
"They told me to ride him as hard as I could," said Talamo. "They said the more you ride him, the more he'll give you. They sure were right. I had to move with him a little sooner than I wanted to to make sure Garrett's horse didn't get by. So I got after him pretty good and he was up to it."
The winner paid $7.60 and $3.20, with My Best Brother good for $2.80. There was no show betting. The $2 exacta returned $14.40.
Out of the stakes-winning A.P. Indy mare Grat, Old Time Hockey has now won three of his nine starts and earned $200,000.
Chicago businessman Leonard Lavin started the Glen Hill Farm racing and breeding operation, which includes a showplace farm just outside Ocala run by Proctor's brother Hap. Lavin's grandson, Craig Bernick, manages the day-to-day affairs of the racing side.
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