Jockey Joel Rosario, heading for New York to ride full time, finished up in Southern California a stakes winner when he guided 9-10 favorite Capital Plan to a nose victory in the $100,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf at Betfair Hollywood Park June 24 (VIDEO).
Rosario, a multiple riding champion on the Southern California circuit, begins riding at Belmont Park June 27. He won the Beverly Hills aboard a filly that is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who provided the 24-year-old native of the Dominican Republic with many of his victories beginning in Northern California, where he got his start in the United States.
The 4-year-old Capital Plan remained undefeated in three starts at the 1 1/4-mile distance when she held off a closing Cambina in the final strides. The final time, adjusted after a clock malfunction, was a slow 2:04.21 on a firm course, the slowest in 16 editions of the Beverly Hills at the distance.
"I knew they were going really, really slow, but she's the kind of filly where you can't make your move too soon," Rosario said. "I just tried to wait for the right time so when I asked her to go she would have something left. And that was exactly what happened.
"I wasn't 100% confident we would win at the sixteenth pole, but my filly was giving me everything she had. I want to thank (Hollendorfer) for all of the opportunities he has given me."
Capital Plan had defeated Cambina in the Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) at 10 furlongs at Santa Anita Park April 21 and was coming off a hard-fought third in the 1 1/8-mile Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) on the Hollywood turf five weeks later.
The winner, a daughter of Rock Hard Ten from the Strawberry Road mare Miss Dahlia, is owned by Hollendorfer and Dr. Mark Dedomenico. Madeleine Pickens and Diamond A Racing bred the bay filly in Kentucky.
Six older fillies and mares contested the Beverly Hills, which was led to nearly mid-stretch by Quaintly in the familiar silks of Michael Tabor for trainer Patrick Biancone. Quaintly, with Victor Espinoza aboard, slowed the pace to a crawl (:26.11, :51.41, 1:15.75) and the remainder of the field seemed content to follow along as they reached the far turn.
Capital Plan, fourth early, went for an early move when prompted by a horse on her outside and found herself alongside the pacesetter with a half-mile to run. Those two battled on the far turn and through the stretch before Capital Plan got a head in front at mid-stretch. She inched away from Quaintly as the Irish-bred Cambina rallied three wide in deep stretch for Garrett Gomez.
Cambina, finishing willingly, inched ever closer to the leader as the wire approached but would run out of time as Capital Plan prevailed from between horses under left-handed urging from Rosario.
Cambina, winner in a dead-heat of last summer's American Oaks (gr. IT) at the Beverly Hills distance, finished a half-length in front of Quaintly. She lost for the eighth consecutive time since her win in the American Oaks.
Capital Plan, whose fifth lifetime win in 12 starts boosted her earnings to $305,800, returned $3.80, $2.40, and $2.10. Cambina returned $2.80 and $2.10. The exacta was worth $7. Quaintly paid $2.40.
Assistant trainer Dan Ward said the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita is the ultimate objective in 2012 for Capital Plan. He said she could run next in either the $250,000 John C. Mabee (gr. IIT) Aug. 12 at Del Mar or the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) Aug. 18 at Arlington Park.