Frankel Takes 'Control' to American Handicap Upset

Frankel Takes 'Control' to American Handicap Upset
Photo: Benoit
Out Of Control (center) battles with The Tin Man (right) and Fast And Furious (left) to win the American Invitational.
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T N T Stud's Out of Control made his United States stakes debut a winning one, outfighting the grand gelding The Tin Man in deep stretch to win the $250,000 American Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) by a head on the Hollywood Park turf Saturday.

Ridden by Michael Baze for trainer Bobby Frankel, Out of Control was in with a feather light 113 pounds, 10 less than the 9-year-old The Tin Man, whose four-racing winning streak dating back to last year's American was snapped.

“He was a little rank the first few jumps and then I was just trying to get him to follow The Tin Man the whole way," Baze explained. "At the quarter pole both horses were digging in hard and I was trying to keep him there because I know how much heart The Tin Man has."

The Tin Man, tuning up to defend his Arlington Million (gr. IT) title Aug. 11, was seeking his third win in the American for trainer Richard Mandella, having won it for the first time in 2002.

And it appeared he might get it after getting a perfect stalking trip from Victor Espinoza. Racing second between horses on the outside of Willow O Wisp, who set fractions of :24 1/5, :48 1/5 and 1:11 4/5, The Tin Man assumed a slight lead coming off the final turn. However, Out of Control, chasing on the outside of the dueling leaders, was never far out of it. As the leaders hit the stretch, Out of Control challenged The Tin Man, barely getting the lead mid-stretch. However, the valiant The Tin Man fought back all the way to the wire before Out of Control was able to prevail. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile test was 1:46 4/5.

"It's kind of a big difference when you're carrying 10 pounds more than the other horse," Espinoza said. "Especially at a mile and one-eighth. He ran so hard...he didn't want to get beat. The last eighth of a mile, I thought I got it, but the last few strides were a little bit too much for him."

"The horse had a perfect trip, and we have no excuses," Mandella said. "It just wasn’t good enough to give that guy 10 pounds today, that’s all.”

The 35-1 shot Fast and Furious made a big move rallying from last in the stretch under Alex Solis to finish third, a half-length behind The Tin Man.

"I had a great trip, but the speed duel I thought would happen didn't quite develop," Solis said. "He came running late and I was very proud of him."

Out of Control, a 4-year-old dark bay Brazilian homebred colt by Vettori--Heavenly Dancer (Fitzcarraldo), was group I placed in his native country before transferring to Frankel this year. He had won two of four U.S. starts before Saturday, including a 1 1/4-length triumph over second-level allowance foes on the Hollywood Park turf in his last start May 27. Overall, Out of Control is 4-2-1 in eight starts with earnings of $249,371. Saturday's win was worth $150,000.

"After watching him race on both the turf and dirt it’s clear that he is a much better on the grass," said Frankel's assistant, Humberto Ascanio, who saddled Out of Control. "We’ve been working him a bit slow in his recent workouts but he proved he was a winner today. When you beat a horse like The Tin Man, it really shows the kind of heart this horse has."

Sent off as the third choice in the field of six, Out of Control paid $13.80, $4.60 and $3.40. The Tin Man, who won the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) off an eight-month layoff last out, returned $2.60 and $2.10. Fast and Furious, 10th in the Shoemaker was $6 to show. Becrux, Right Special and Willow O Wisp followed. Lang Field scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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