Weewinnin registered a 60-1 shocker in the inaugural running of the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes (VIDEO) on closing day of the 2012 autumn meet at Betfair Hollywood Park Dec. 16.
A seven-furlong Cushion Track test for 2-year-olds bred in California, the King Glorious was added to the Hollywood Park stakes schedule this year as part of the newly instituted Golden State Series. Weewinnin was making his first start in 4 1/2 months, having finished fourth in the Graduation Stakes for state-breds at Del Mar in his most recent start Aug. 1.
Jose Valdivia Jr. rode the big outsider to a half-length victory over Fighting Hussar in a time of 1:23.54 for trainer Brian Koriner. The dark bay/brown colt races for his breeders, Dr. and Mrs. William T. Gray, and co-owners E-Racing.Com, and Janet and William Lyons, et al. The winner is a son of Comic Strip out of the unraced mare Honoree Lady, by Roman Dancer.
Weewinnin paid $122, $54.20, and $20.40 for his second win in three starts. He began his career with a win over $32,000 maiden claimers at Golden Gate Fields June 16.
Fighting Hussar, an 11-1 shot ridden by Rafael Bejarano, returned $12 and $6.80 while finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Monument, who paid $3.40 to show as the 2-1 favorite with Juan Hernandez aboard. The exotic payoffs were phenomenal. A $2 exacta was worth $1,231, while a $2 triple came back $6,042.40. A $1 superfecta with 7-1 Tiz a Minister fourth paid $42,578.50.
"He ran a freaky race when he broke his maiden," Koriner said. "When he ran at Del Mar we were a little upset, but he came out of the race with (sore) shins. That's why he didn't go on. We were upset because we paid pretty good money for the horse (after his maiden victory). My owners had me on the line for overpaying—I think we gave $100,000—but we got it all back today."
Weewinnin had been prepared for his comeback at Hollywood Park, where his most recent work Dec. 10 was a half-mile drill In :48 1/5.
"He's been training great," Koriner said. "I've been telling the owners we were going to win this. One of the owners wanted to run him in a starter allowance, but I told him he's been outworking some pretty good older horses and it was worth a chance to run him here."
Valdivia said he agreed with Korniner's decision.
"He's been working like a good thing," the jockey said. "I told Brian he's been working like a good horse and if you run him in a starter allowance, I think you'll be giving away a good effort. He said 'Come on, let's take a shot.' This colt is going to come back and show that he's the real deal. I don't think this race was a fluke."
Weewinnin stalked in third or fourth behind the lone filly in the race, pacesetting Awesome Annie, who was pushed along by Surfcup to her outside. Weewinnin advanced on the outside leaving the turn and took the lead in the stretch. He inched away from Monument to a one-length advantage at the furlong pole. Under strong right-handed urging from Valdivia, Weewinnin dug in tenaciously in the late stages to repel the rallying Fighting Hussar.
The opening quarter mile was clocked in :22.94, with the half timed in :45.92.
The victory spoiled Rafael Bejarano's bid for another Hollywood Park riding title. Bejarano needed the victory aboard Fightin Hussar to tie Edwin Maldonado, who earned the first major riding championship of his career.
"I thought I was going to win, but he didn't want to change leads," Bejarano said of the runner-up.
Weewinnin earned $110,000 for the victory to push his total bankroll to $125,900.
Lovmeister, Surfcup, Back to Bako, Strong Wind, Awesome Annie, Havoc, and Hazardous completed the order.
Maldonado held on 25-24 over Bejarano in the jockey chase.
A native of Puerto Rico, Maldonado, who turned 30 Dec. 1, also captured the crown at Fairplex Park this summer, ending Martin Pedroza’s 13-year dominance of the Los Angeles County Fair meet.
Bob Baffert won his third autumn meet trainer's title with 17 victories, three ahead of John Sadler.
After a nine-day winter break, Southern California racing returns to Santa Anita Park Dec. 26.