Pacesetting Siphon City and jockey Elvis Trujillo turned back the challenge of Congrats in the stretch and edged away to a 1 1/2-length win in the $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course
Congrats, ridden by Daniel Centeno, closed to within a head of Siphon City as the two favorites separated from the remainder of the field, but Siphon City, the slight 2-1 choice, pulled away again while fully extended to the wire. The final time for the 1/16-mile event was 1:45 4/5.
Siphon City, a 4-year-old son of Siphon
, led every step of the way as he set fractions of moderate :23 3/5, :57 3/5 and 1:12 2/5 while stalked by Bob's Proud Moment on the inside and Congrats on the outside. Congrats, under urging from Centeno, closed the gap as the two favorites pulled away coming into the stretch but had had to settle for second best.
"I just let my horse ease over to the rail to save ground and we were running easy on the front end," Trujillo said. "The real test came in the stretch when Congrats came to us. My horse really proved something today by putting that one away."
Daniel Hurtak trains the winner, whom he claimed for $75,000 at Gulfstream Park for owner Ray J. Larkin. Bereton C. Jones bred Siphon City, who is out of the Carson City mare Carsona, in Kentucky.
"I originally thought he would do best on turf, but I think we'll stay with the main track for now, maybe out of town," Hurtak said. "The biggest difference in him now is that he used to be a little bit of a 'head case.' He was scratched twice at the gate. But it's been a team effort to get him where he is now."
It was 7 3/4 lengths back to Bob's Proud Moment, followed by Notgonagetemtoday, Gigawatt, Twilight Road and Hal's Image.
Grade II winner Congrats, making his first start since April 1, was bidding to go over the $1 million in career earnings for his new trainer, Kathleen O'Connell, but his $20,000 purse left him just shy at $998,960.
Siphon City paid $6.80, $3.60 and $3.40. Congrats returned $3.60 and $3.80. Bob's Proud Moment was $6.80 to show.
Broadway View, Mister Fotis and Whos Crying Now scratched.