Odds-on choice Majestic City improved to three-for-three in his young career when he ran down a pair of Bob Baffert-trained colts to win the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) (VIDEO) going away on closing day at Hollywood Park July 17.
Majestic City, a recent private purchase by Jeffrey Bloom from Majestic Racing Stable, shook off a fall in the paddock and some unruly behavior behind the starting gate to win as much the best by 2 1/4 lengths over five rivals. The son of City Zip completed six furlongs in a Cushion Track time of 1:10.45.
"I think I lost five years off my life, but it worked out in the end," winning trainer Peter Miller told TVG of the pre-race antics.
Miller later explained that Majestic City was spooked by the activity in the paddock and slipped and fell.
David Flores rode Majestic City, who was bred in Kentucky by Trackside Farm and Robert and Helen Evans.
Night Tide, ridden by Martin Garcia for Baffert, took the early advantage on the inside of Majestic City and led through quick fractions of :22.44 and :45.54. Baffert's second colt in the field, Brigand, stalked in third and advanced into contention along the rail in the stretch. But neither could match strides with Majestic City, who flew home on the outside under some right-handed urging from Flores.
Brigand, ridden by Hollywood Park's spring/summer champion jockey Joel Rosario, wound up second by 1 1/4 lengths over Night Tide and Martin Garcia.
"David gave him a super ride," Miller said. "I'm very happy. We he had worked him behind horses in case something like this happened. He got some very good schooling (in the race). He had to rate behind other horses.
"You’ve got to run hard and fast to beat Baffert," Miller added. "Those were two nice colts that he beat."
Miller said Majestic City will likely make his next start in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at 6 ½ furlongs Aug. 7 at Del Mar.
This was the third win of the meet for Majestic City, who led at every call in the first two races of his career. He began his career with a 1 1/2-length maiden win at 4 1/2 furlongs May 11. He returned to take the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs June 12 by 3 1/2 lengths.
“He wasn’t even trying all the way around the turn," Flores said. "I’m driving and he’s not moving. I got worried a little bit. But then when he changed leads, I got after him harder and whipped him a few times and I could feel the difference. He had better extension and he leveled beautifully. He’s still learning.
"That trouble in the paddock stirred him up a little because he got a little spooky at the gate and he never did that before. They loaded him early and he relaxed once he got in the gate. The gate crew is unbelievable. They try to help you out so the horses don’t get injured.”
Majestic City, who was purchased originally for $180,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales Company in March, is out of It'schemistrybaby, by Meadowlake. He has now banked $135,570.
The winner carried top weight of 120 pounds and paid $3.80, $2.60, $2.10. Brigand returned $4 and $2.20, and completed a $14.20 exacta. Night Tide was $2.20 to show.
Pend Oreille finished well back in fourth, followed by Super Candy and Rino S.
He's a Bandit was scratched in the paddock by the track veterinarian. Ruler of Dubai was an early scratch.