Majestic Harbor runs away from the competition to win the Tokyo City Cup.

Majestic Harbor runs away from the competition to win the Tokyo City Cup.

Benoit Photo

Majestic Harbor Sails to Tokyo City Surprise

Quick pace helps son of Rockport Harbor win easily March 29 at Santa Anita Park.

With Tyler Baze at the controls, stalking Majestic Harbor  seized control going to the three eighths pole in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup (gr. III) March 29 at Santa Anita Park, opening up an insurmountable lead around the far turn and winning easily (VIDEO).

In his first try at the 1 1/2-mile Tokyo City distance, the 6-year-old son of Rockport Harbor prevailed by three lengths in 2:29.97 on a fast main track.

Trained by Sean McCarthy, Majestic Harbor broke from the far outside in a field of eight older horses and settled into a comfortable fourth under the wire for the first time, about six lengths off the lead as Segway and favored Blueskiesnrainbows  dueled at a quick tempo for the distance.

"I let him find his own pace today," said Baze. "When he hit his stride and was clicking along smooth, I just let him gallop by everybody and when he decided it was time to go, it was time to go. I wasn't going to wait around for somebody to come up to us. He's getting it all together now so maybe this will change his heart."

Fourth in the 1 1/8-mile San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 8, Majestic Harbor was the fourth choice in the wagering at 11-2 and paid $13.60, $6.60 and $4.20. It was the initial stakes win for Majestic Harbor, who was second in the San Pasqual (gr. II) Jan. 11, 1 1/4 lengths behind Blueskiesnrainbows.

"I was really pleased at the fractions (:23.45, :46.70, 1:12.22, 1:38.11, and 2:03.33)," said McCarthy. "He settled well in the first turn. When he went by the wire the first time, he was in perfect position on the outside. This horse likes being on the outside and left alone and Tyler just had him in a perfect rhythm.

"That was the key, really. You're going a mile and a half for the first time, you're never sure if you're going to get the distance, but to get that distance, you'd better settle down and get into a good rhythm and that's exactly what he did."

Owned by Gallant Stables and bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm out of the French Deputy mare Champagne Royale, Majestic Harbor picked up his fifth win from 21 starts. With the winner's share of $60,000, he increased his earnings to $331,764.

Ever Rider, ridden by Victor Espinoza, rated kindly in the short run to the far turn, saving ground throughout while rallying nicely to be second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Segway and Gary Stevens. Off at 13-1, Ever Rider paid $11.60 and $7.

Segway, who broke from post 4, was intent on dueling with Blueskiesnrainbows and Corey Nakatani early and showed the way until overtaken by the winner going to the three-furlong marker. The second choice at 3-1, Segway paid $4.20 to show.

American Blend was a neck farther back in fourth. The solid favorite at 2-1, multiple graded stakes winner Blueskiesnrainbows was spent with a half mile to run and finished fifth, beaten by 14 1/4 lengths.

"Around the first turn I think he might have over-reached and (grabbed) a quarter," said Nakatani. "And that affected the way he was traveling and they'll get him back to the barn and make sure he's okay."

Toccetive, Niagara Falls, and Tiz Dynamic trailed.

An on-track crowd of 16,179 was at Santa Anita for a nine-race program and a full schedule of Japanese cultural events.

When trainer McCarthy was queried as to where he'd go from the Tokyo City Cup, he responded, "To get a beer."