Eastern invader Rebellion got a hot pace to run at and emerged with a late-closing victory in the $111,700 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track June 7.
Trainer H. Graham Motion rarely runs a horse on the West Coast, but his decision to bring the 5-year-old synthetic track tyro to Hollywood proved a profitable one when Rebellion came from off the pace to score a 1 1/2-length win in the 7 1/2-furlong test. It was the fourth win in six starts (with two seconds) on an all weather tracks for the Great Britain-bred son of Mozart. Rebellion won the seven-furlong Commonwealth (gr. II) on Keeneland's Polytrack in his previous start April 12.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Rebellion's winning time was 1:27.68.
Motion, based in Maryland, was represented by his assistant Alice Clapham, who noted: "We train on Tapeta (surface) at Fair Hills so he is used to it, these synthetic surfaces. He's a very good traveler and we just wanted to bring him over here and see how he would take to it. Obviously, it suited him very well."
The veteran Buzzards Bay came away well from his inside post to lead Bold Chieftain and Tropic Storm through rapid early fractions of :22.83 and :44.94, but the grade I winner came under heavy pressure from his pace rivals rounding the turn. Bold Chieftain gained a slight edge after a six-furlong clip of 1:08.91 as Buzzards Bay fell back. Tropic Storm, always close, took the lead with less than a furlong to go. But those two were softened up by the quick splits and were easy pickings for the flying Rebellion, who clipped off a final sixteenth in 6.34 seconds.
Rebellion trailed the 10-horse field after the first half-mile but closed the gap on the final turn and made a four-wide bid in the lane to gain command late.
"At the quarter pole I went out for room and he was running very strong," Bejarano said. "I didn't have to hit him very much. I think he'll be even better with more distance."
Tropic Storm, ridden by Aaron Gryder, finished three quarters of a length in front of the show horse, Stoneside, with Martin Pedroza aboard.
Owned by James and Marylea Treptow's Hickory Tree Stable, Rebellion won for the seventh time in 16 starts. He began his career in Great Britain, where he was conditioned by Mark Johnston. Rebellion has won five of eight tries in the U.S. Overall, he has earned $467,367.
James Treptow said after the race that Rebellion would be pointed to the Triple Bend (gr.I) over Hollywood's synthetic surface or the Firecracker (gr.IIT) on the Churchill Downs' turf. Both races are next month.
Sent off as the second choice, Rebellion paid $6.80, $3.40 and $3. Tropic Storm, the favorite by $300 over the winner, returned $3.20 and $2.80 in his graded stakes debut for Craig Dollase. He rounded out a $2 exacta worth $21.40. Stoneside, a grade III winner on turf making his first start on Cushion Track for Julio Canani, was $6.50 to show.
Bold Chieftain, Buzzards Bay, Dixie Meister, Bestdressed, Soul City Slew, Mr Napper Tandy and Southern Africa completed the order. El Manuel and Barber scratched.(Chart, Equibase)