Jockey Alex Solis completed a sweep of the three graded stakes races on the Hollywood Park program Saturday when he guided the former claiming horse Siren Lure to an unlikely victory in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III).
Siren Lure, the 120-pound high weight who has won four of his past five starts for trainer Art Sherman and owners Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian, notched his first graded stakes victory in come-from-behind fashion in the six-furlong race.
Siren Lure was slammed coming out of the gate and squeezed severely at the start, but the 5-year-old gelding managed to fight his way through the tie-up to gain a position while racing wide on the backstretch. Though he had just one horse beaten going into the turn, he rallied smartly along the inside to close in on the leaders in mid-stretch. Siren Lure angled out slightly to split rivals near the furlong pole, then finished best of all under strong urging from Solis to gain a one-length victory over the 9-5 favorite Areyoutalkintome. Prorunner, who fought Areyoutalkintome for the lead all the way at odds of 25-1, was edged by neck for second in the field of eight.
The final time was 1:08 2/5 after the front-runners set hot fractions of :21 4/5, :44 1/5 and :56 1/5.
Earlier on the card, Solis won the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap
(gr. II) aboard Surf Cat and the $250,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap
(gr. IIT) on Grey Swallow, both prohibitive favorites.
"Oh boy, amazing!" Solis exclaimed. "I guess that's always the plan when I show up at the track. I think that I'm going to try and win them all."
Siren Lure, by Joyeux Danseur, has put together an impressive record (winning six of nine) on the grass since being claimed by Sherman for $50,000 just over a year ago. All except one of those races prior to Saturday's win, the Daytona at Santa Anita that came off the turf Feb. 19, has come on the lawn. Overall, Siren Lure has 10 wins in 18 lifetime starts while earning $409,909.
"He got shut off in the beginning at the gate, and luckily right away he stopped and hit the brakes or else it could've been ugly," Solis said. "I just had to be patient after that. At the five-sixteenths (pole) I let him run and he came flying.
"The timing was right, I guess. He's a nice little horse."
The fourth choice, Siren Lure paid $12.40, $4.60, and $3.60 while combining with Areyoutalkintome ($3.60, $3) for a $3.68 exacta. Prorunner returned $7.
It was a half-length back to Pure as Gold, who finished fourth. He was followed by Cigar Pal, Oceanus, Secret Ridge, and Thunder Touch, the 3-1 second choice who tired late after making a wide bid on the turn.