Northern Quest

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Irish Prize Repeats in San Gabriel

Sheik Maktoum al Maktoum's Irish Prize earned his fifth graded stakes win of the year Sunday, when he narrowly held off Sligo Bay to win the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) for the second time this calendar year. The Neil Drysdale-trained son of Irish River also won the event on New Year's Day.

Blazing Fury Among Ship-Ins For Hollywood Turf Cup

Blazing Fury, who arrived from New York late Wednesday afternoon for Saturday's $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, jogged on the training track during a rainy Thursday morning. Assistant Danny Dubuc is overseeing final preparations for the 3-year-old gelding until trainer Jim Toner arrives Friday night.

Fair Grounds Racing Report: Tijiyr Posts Upset Victory

Big money. Big money. Six-hundred thousand dead presidents were on the line in the nine-furlong Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. IIT) on March 25 and there were plenty of takers. Top grass horses from each corner of the map swarmed into Fair Grounds like moths attracted to a porch light. Five invaders came from the East Coast and six shipped in from California. The biggest name on the marquee was Centennial Farms' King Cugat, a multiple graded stakes winner, who was making his 4-year-old debut. However, trainer Niall O'Callaghan came to bury Caesar, not to praise him, and he did it with Gary Tanaka's Tijiyr. The Irish-bred, under Robby Albarado, put in a determined finish to cap off a ground-saving trip and seal the upset ($21.40) victory.

Soft Turf Suits Northern Quest in Golden Gate 'Cap

Three Plus U Stable's Northern Quest, taking advantage of a soft turf course he seems to prefer, split horses at the top of the stretch en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $242,500 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Sunday at Golden Gate Fields. Under Victor Espinoza, the 6-year-old French-bred completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:58.58.

Persianlux Survives Inquiry, Wins San Luis Obispo Handicap

Persianlux, the longest shot in the race at 27-1, led every step of the way and rolled to a five-length victory Saturday in the grade II, $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita Park. Ridden by Tyler Baze at 113 pounds, Persianlux ran 1-1/2 miles on a firm turf course in 2:27.70 and paid $57.20, $22.20 and $10.60. It was the first graded stakes victory for Baze, winner of the 2000 Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding apprentice jockey. The 18-year- old rider became the youngest jockey to win a graded stakes race at Santa Anita since Steve Cauthen, who was also 18, rode J.O. Tobin to victory in the 1978 Malibu Stakes.

Just Like Dad: Bienamado Wins San Marcos

Bienamado asserted his class in the stretch and earned a victory Saturday in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes on the turf at Santa Anita Park. In winning the same race his father won at Santa Anita in 1994, Bienamado, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Bien Bien, paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Chris McCarron rode the winner at 122 pounds for trainer Paco Gonzalez and owners Trudy McCaffery, John Toffan and Robert Sangster.

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