Victor's Cry shot between horses past mid-stretch and won the $250,000 Citation Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) in an 11-1 upset Nov. 27 over his favorite turf course at Hollywood Park.
The Eoin Harty-trained 5-year-old son of Street Cry produced his first win since a 22-1 stunner in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) over the same layout May 31. He won the Citation by 1 3/4 lengths and completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in a strong time of 1:39.86 over firm going.
Proudinsky , in his first start in 11 months for trainer Humberto Ascanio, got up for second in a four-horse photo over Meteore. Court Vision , the 7-5 favorite in the field of 10 older handicap horses, finished fourth after a belated wide bid, with Enriched a close fifth.
The multiple grade I winner Court Vision had captured the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) two years ago in his only prior race over the course.
Victor's Cry, breaking from the rail for jockey Victor Espinoza, raced at the back of the pack for much of the journey as Colgan's Chip and Enriched provided a fast pace -- :22.91, :46.86, and 1:10.04. The winner made up some ground on the final turn as he angled out a bit for room in the homestretch. He still had about a half-dozen rivals to pass in upper stretch and did so when Espinoza found an opening between Proudinsky and a retreating Ryehill Dreamer. Victor's Cry blew through the gap and won impressively going away.
“My horse was nice and relaxed, way, way back,’’ said Espinoza. “Right before the three-eighths pole, I just let him slighty move up, little by little. There were a lot of horses in front of me and I just wanted to make sure I’d have a great trip.
“I didn’t want him to get stopped under any circumstances because he’s such a big horse. This was the first time I was on him, so I didn’t know how he was going to react. Turning for home I was just waiting. There was just enough room to get through and when I turned him loose, he had a really strong kick. I just had to show him the whip, I didn’t really have to hit him. He won easily. I was very impressed.’’
Proudinsky rallied for second under Rafael Bejarano to nose Meteore and Alonso Quinonez at the wire. Court Vision, ridden by Joel Rosario, finished a head farther back in fourth with Enriched just a nose behind him. Then came Bruce's Dream, Colgan's Chip, second choice Violon Sacre, Ryehill Dreamer, and Liberian Freighter.
Owned by Equilete Stables, Victor's Cry won for the third time in eight starts this year. He was overlooked by bettors after a pair of below-average efforts in his two most recent starts. He turned in a ninth-place showing behind the victorious Court Vision in the Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) in September, and showed little when fifth as the favorite behind lightly-regarded Citation rivals Liberian Freighter and Colgan's Chip in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) Oct. 9.
"All his latest works have been super; I worked him five-eighths the other day (:59 3/5 on Nov. 22), just beautiful," Harty told TVG after registering his first Citation victory. "I actually prayed when they drew the race that I would get the rail so he could save some ground. I got lucky."
Harty said he was happy to secure Espinoza after Victor's Cry regular rider, Corey Nakatani, opted for Ryehill's Dreamer. The trainer also said he expects Victor's Cry to return in 2011.
"I see no reason he won't come back next year," Harty said. "He's been very sound and there's no reason not to. Victor on Victor. I thought it was karma."
Bred in Virginia by Legacy Farm, Victor's Cry is out of the Clever Trick mare Short Time. He won for the sixth time in 21 lifetime starts -- with half of those victories coming in five tries on the Hollywood turf -- and improved his earnings to $564,021 with the winning purse of $150,000.
He carried 118 pounds, four fewer than the top-weighted Court Vision, and paid $24.40, $12, and $6.20. Proudinsky, a 15-1 shot who was fourth in the Citation in both 2008 and 2009, returned $15.40 and $8.20 and was part of a whopping $342.40 exacta. Meteore, off at 28-1, was was $11.40 to show and completed a $3,887.20 trifecta.
Court Vision, who bobbled at the start and trailed the field for the first six furlongs before rallying wide in the stretch, rounded out a $1 superfecta worth $11,690.40.