Dynamic Host, claimed for $40,000 last summer, became a graded stakes winner when he held off British import Dhaamer by a neck in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park Mach 24 (VIDEO).
Ridden by David Flores for trainer Art Sherman in the 1 1/2-mile main-track event, Dynamic Host made a big move from the rear of the pack to take a short lead over Skipshot approaching mid-stretch. The 6-year-old Dynaformer gelding inched away in the final furlong then held on gamely in the final strides. He completed the distance in 2:30.22 on a fast track.
Dynamic Host, sent off at odds of 5-1, won for the first time since Sherman claimed him for $40,000 from Genaro Vallejo at Del Mar Aug. 25. Dynamic Host is owned by the partnership of Zvika Akin, Greg Avery, and Bill Wilbur.
The winner, bred in Kentucky by Rupert Gaynor, is out of the French Deputy mare Hosta.
Dynamic Host was coming off a third-place finish in a 10-furlong optional claiming test on the Santa Anita turf Jan. 27. He was attempting the 1 1/2-mile distance for the first time while making just his second start on dirt.
‘’He was hanging in there tough through the stretch," Sherman said. "He impressed me with his gameness, but sometimes he likes to hang. I was getting a little nervous. It was an absolutely wonderful ride by David."
Eight contested the Tokyo City, with Twice the Appeal, winner of last year's Sunland Derby (gr. III), sent off as the 9-5 favorite.
Twice the Appeal, ridden by Garrett Gomez, was prominent early as Skipshot led early over Coluda on the outside. Coluda and Twice the Appeal then swapped the lead in the early portion of the race as Skipshot dropped back into third. Fractions were :47.72 for the opening four furlongs and 1:38.31 for the mile.
Skipshot advanced for Kevin Krigger on the final turn to get the lead as Dynamic Host and Flores continued to progress with determination on the far outside. Dynamic Host got the lead from Skipshot before the stalking Dhaamer mustered a late challenge to the leader, who was weakening a bit in the late stages.
"He jumped in the bit the first time we got to the stretch so I had to take control of him," Flores said. "On the second turn I let him get comfortable and he moved up to the leaders. I had to work hard from the turn onwards because he’s lazy when he gets the lead."
Dhaamer, an Irish-bred 5-year-old who raced previously in England for John Gosden, came on strong for Rafael Bejarano but ran out of time. Sent off as the second choice, Dhaamer was 4 1/4 lengths clear in second in his U.S. debut.
"I thought I was going to catch him him because my horse showed me a big kick down the stretch, but(Dynamic Host) kept running,” Bejarano said.
Sherman said Dynamic Host could move back to the turf for his next start in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT) at about 1 3/4 miles April 22.
"I’ll see how he comes out of the race and how he's training,’’ Sherman said.
Dynamic Host picked up his fifth lifetime win in 27 starts. He has earned $217,528.
Under 118 pounds, Dynamic Host paid $13, $5.80, $3.60 and topped a $53 exacta. Dhaamer, a three-time winner in England, returned $4.40 and $3.80. Skipshot paid $4.80 to show.