Favored Grandeur (IRE) earned his second grade II win from three United States starts when he came from off the pace to capture the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup by three-quarters of a length at Betfair Hollywood Park Dec. 15 (VIDEO).
Runner-up in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IIT) last time out, the Irish-bred Grandeur won in his first try at 1 1/2 miles, which he negotiated in 2:27.95 over firm going. The 8-5 pick in the field of 10 became the first 3-year-old to win the Turf Cup since Bien Bien was put up via disqualification of Fraise in 1992.
Grandeur was ridden to victory by Garrett Gomez for owner Yvonne Jacques and trainer Paddy Gallagher, who took over the conditioning duties from Great Britain's Jeremy Noseda following the Hollywood Derby. Group-placed in England this summer, Grandeur won the Twilight Derby (gr. IIT), previously called the Oak Tree Derby, in his U.S. debut at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2.
"I really didn't do much with him. I didn't have to," Gallagher said. "This was his third graded race in six weeks. I'm just thankful that the owner (Yvonne Jacques) left him with me. She lives in Europe and I believe the plan was to take him back there, depending on what he did today, and eventually run him in Dubai. I'd sure like to keep him, but he's going back to Jeremy Noseda."
A gray or roan gelding by Verglas out of the Desert Sun mare Misskinta, Grandeur was bred by Mrs. Cherry Faeste. He races without Lasix.
Interaction (ARG) made a strong bid along the inside in the stretch to get second under Joe Talamo, unable to reel in Grandeur in the final half-furlong. Optimizer, who led early before settling into a stalking position behind Slim Shadey, was one-paced for third after being in tight quarters at the furlong mark, with Slim Shadey holding on by a head for fourth over Fire With Fire.
Slim Shadey ran the opening half-mile in :49.12 while tracked by Fire With Fire and Optimizer, and stepped the mile in 1:39.77. His lead was reduced to a half-length over Fire With Fire as they reached the quarter pole in 2:04.35. Grandeur, who came from far out of it in his first two stateside starts, was a little closer to the pace this time while saving ground going into the final turn.
Gomez, who won the Turf Cup for the third time, said he was unsure of how to play it with Grandeur.
"I wasn´t happy with the horse I was following (Optimizer), I wanted to find my way around him," Gomez said. "I thought about sliding my way through Slim Shadey but decided I didn´t like that option. As we approached the final turn I decided to take him outside of Optimizer and when I asked him he went on with it without a problem."
Racing mid-pack in the stretch after being angled out for the drive, Grandeur surged powerfully under some right-handed urging from Gomez to grab the lead. Grandeur then dug in tenaciously as Interaction gave a valiant effort at odds of 29-1.
"We had an absolutely perfect trip, we never had to leave the rail and everything opened up for us," Talamo said of his journey aboard Interaction. "He ran a winning race. He just got outrun.''
It was 2 1/4 lengths farther back to Optimizer, the second 3-year-old in the field who lacked room while racing between horses at mid-stretch.
Carrying 120 pounds, Grandeur paid $5.20, $3.60, and $2.60 while topping a generous $106 exacta with the Ron McAnally-trained Interaction, who returned $19.80 and $11.80. Optimizer, from the D. Wayne Lukas stable, paid $3.80 to show in his 14th start of the year.
Slim Shadey and Fire With Fire were followed by Bourbon Bay, who was second in the Turf Cup last year, Tiz Gianni, Grassy, Kindergarden KId, and the Peruvian mare Private Affair.
Grandeur won for the sixth time in 12 starts and boosted his earnings to $398,438. He made his U. S. debut following a win under William Buick in the Dubai Duty Free Conditions Stakes at Newbury Sept. 21 as the 3-2 favorite. In two stakes appearances he had one placing, a third-place effort Aug. 25 in the Totepool.com Winter Hill Stakes (Eng-III) at Windsor.