(from Hollywood Park report)
Worldly remains undefeated in three U.S. starts after grabbing the lead nearing the sixteenth pole and keeping even-money favorite Golden Balls at bay with a one-length spread in Saturday’s $113,500 Cinema Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park.
With Victor Espinoza up, the Great Britain-bred covered 1 1/8 miles on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:47.40 under high weight of 120 pounds, becoming the sixth horse to win both of Hollywood's graded turf events for 3-year-olds. He won the Will Rogers (gr. IIIT) while making his first Hollywood Park start on May 19.
Espinoza had Worldly in ideal position, getting first run at pacesetter Tycoon Doby heading to the far turn. They were ready to pounce when the tightly-bunched field of five turned for home.
"Everything went great,” Espinoza said. “I was hoping the horse on the lead would last a little longer so I wouldn't have to take the lead sooner than I wanted. This race was much better than his last. He's a young horse that's getting better each time he runs. He's much more calm . . . he used to be on his toes and all excited, but now he settles and saves it for the race. He's an easy horse to ride; it helps me a lot to be able to put him in any position I want."
After pulling his way to the lead while four wide heading into the first turn, Tycoon Doby, ridden by Alex Solis, carved out fractions of :23 3/5, :47 3/5 and 1:11 2/5, and was still fighting at the end, losing the place spot by a neck.
Worldly, trained by Ben Cecil, races for Christopher Wright, the owner of Stratford Place in Gloucestershire County, England. The victory was Worldly's fourth in six starts. The winner’ share of $63,900 boosted his earnings to $175,943.
“He was pretty impressive today,” Cecil said. “I was a little worried how good Golden Balls was, but I’ve always thought a lot of this horse. Since there wasn’t much pace, I thought his chances were good because he has a really nice turn of foot. He’s a big baby who’s getting better and maturing with each start.
“Next year I think he will be an even better horse than he is now,” Cecil added. “He could go to the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), the American Derby (gr. IIT), or we might just wait for Del Mar - depending on how he comes out of this race.”
Golden Balls, an Irish-bred owned by Fontana Racing and trained by James Cassidy, was also a winner in his only U.S. start, rallying to capture the La Puente at Santa Anita in April.
"He ran good,” jockey Brice Blanc said. “I was right behind the winner, but the winner was just too much. This was his first time going a mile-and-one-eighth, and he had some time off, too. I think my horse will improve off this race."
Trainer Cassidy was adamant his horse will move up.
"He put in his effort,” Cassidy said. “We had a little more to do than the other horse. The winner had a little better trip. We’ve got a race in him now. He’ll never beat us again.”
Worldly, the second choice paid $5.20, $2.60, and $2.10.
Golden Balls returned $2.40 and $2.10, while the show payoff on Tycoon Doby was $2.60.
Streets Ahead and Mr Eddie Boy trailed. Gweebara, Star Inside, and Level Red scratched.