Lord of the Game Takes Fast Hanshin Cup

(from Arlington Park report)
Lord of the Game, claimed for $10,000 out of his first start on Dec. 31, earned the biggest tally of his brief career when he rallied from off a quick pace to capture the Hanshin Cup (gr. III) by a half-length on Saturday at Arlington Park.

Making the first start of his career in a one-turn race, Lord of the Game finished in 1:34.60, the fastest mile at Arlington in nearly two years.

Eusebio Razo Jr. rode the Tom Tomillo-trained son of Saint Ballado, who races in the colors of William Slevin's 2 Blondes Inc., giving that stable its first graded stakes victory from its first claim.

"I didn't have a real good break so after that I put him into position," said Razo. "At the three-eighths pole, he didn't want to go by those horses. This is the first time he had to come from way back, so he didn't really know what he was doing. After that, he really leveled out and went by those horses. The pace wasn't that fast the first quarter and they weren't coming back to me. He had to work today to win."

Since being claimed out of that first start, Lord of the Game rattled off four straight allowance victories before tasting defeat for the first time in the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) where he finished third to Pollard's Vision and Badge of Silver.

"The last time he ran at Hawthorne, he ran against some of the best horses around and he really gave (them) a tough race," said Tomillo. "He's amazing."

The Hanshin Cup was the sixth win in seven starts for the 4-year-old gelding and the $60,000 winner's share boosted his bankroll to $169,400.

Goulding Green, who was ridden by C. H. Marquez, Jr., rallied from far back to finish second in the eight-horse field.

Longshot Nkosi Reigns battled defending champion and slight favorite Crafty Shaw through early fractions of :23.24, :45.89 seconds, 1:09.36, and 1:22.01 before finishing third and fourth, respectively. Home of Stars, Missme, Pass Rush, and Stormy Impact completed the order of finish.

"I'm sick," said Nkosi Reigns' rider Chris Emigh. "I thought I was going to win it. Then about the last 70 yards or so, he fell apart on me a little bit."

Sent off as the second choice in the wagering at odds of 5-2, Lord of the Game paid $7.40, $4, and $3. Gouldings Green returned $4 and $3. Nkosi Reigns paid $5.40.

(Chart, Equibase)