What A Song, outside, moves past Bashert to win the Hollywood Juvenile Championship.

What A Song, outside, moves past Bashert to win the Hollywood Juvenile Championship.


What a Song Makes Booming Stakes Debut

(from Hollywood Park report)
Bob and Beverly Lewis' $1.9 million colt What a Song is unbeaten in two starts after winning a thrilling duel with Bashert in Saturday's $104,500 Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park.

Jockey Victor Espinoza drove the son of Songandaprayer  to victory by a neck over the $110,000 buy Bashert and Rene Douglas following a long stretch battle in which neither colt was willing to give in.

"Goes to show you what money does," mused Bill Currin, owner-trainer of the runner-up. "A million-nine is supposed to be better than a hundred-ten, right? You do the math."

What a Song, purchased by the Lewises at Barretts March 2-year-olds in-training sale, was impressive Saturday, breaking sharply and vying for the early lead before Espinoza eased him back to third entering the far turn. Moved outside nearing the quarter-pole, he hooked Bashert at the top of the lane and wore him down gradually. The winner covered six furlongs in 1:09.55 under 117 pounds.

"This is a good, tough horse," Espinoza said. "I had to get him out (from the inside). I didn't want to fight with the leaders. Once I took him back, he was nice and relaxed. This was just his second race, and he's still a baby. The first race I just kind of galloped him. But today he really ran and this was a good workout for him. He should be even better the next race."

What a Song, trained by Bob Baffert, paid $3.60, $2.20 and $2.10 as the odds-on favorite. Bashert returned $2.40 and $2.10 as the narrow second choice. Stevie Wonderboy, third under Garrett Gomez, paid $2.10. There was a minus show pool of $25,492.

"He needed a race like that," Baffert said. "He got an education out of it today. Got dirt in his face and he handled it well, made his move around the turn. He's never trained here, comes over the day of . . . he's so cool. He doesn't get excited. He's just a natural athlete. Now everybody knows why he cost so much. The good ones cost a lot of money. Right? Bob Lewis bought him to win races like this.

"Victor rode him with a lot of confidence," Baffert added. "And when you have a good horse you want a rider that's gonna ride him with confidence. And if he would have gotten beat it wouldn't have mattered. They learn, they're just learning."

While the win was the first in the Juvenile for Baffert, the Lewises won the race ten years ago with Hennessy. Two-time Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning owners, the Lewis are loaded with prospects for 2006.

"To have an upcoming and challenging 2-year-old is thrilling, and without specifically making reference, we have a bundle of them," Bob Lewis said. "We have 27 2-year-olds. I'm caught up with 2-year-olds at the moment. I think it's a good approach for Beverly and I. When you buy a yearling, you've got a long time before you get to the race track . . . and I ain't got that much time."

(Chart, Equibase)