Festival, en route to victory in the Dahlia Stakes.

Festival, en route to victory in the Dahlia Stakes.


Japanese Mare Rolls to Victory in Dahlia Stakes

Making her second start in the U. S., Japanese-bred mare Festival rallied to post a six-length victory in Monday's $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. III), the closing day feature of the Hollywood Park meet.

A 5-year-old homebred daughter of Assatis (by Topsider) racing for Grand Farm, Festival overtook pacesetter Irgunette at the eighth pole and pulled away in the 1 1/16 mile race for fillies and mares 3 and older. Irgunette held on for second, nine lengths ahead of Belle Ange in the
five-horse field.

The race originally was scheduled as a grade II for the turf, but was switched to the main track because of the condition of the grass course. There were five scratches after the race was moved to the dirt and the race was run as a grade III event. Under the protocol of the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, a race switched from turf to the main track is automatically downgraded one grade, subject to review and possible later reinstatement of the original grade.

Danny Sorenson rode Festival, who carried 111 pounds and raced the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42.11. The winner paid $13.40, $5.80 and $5.40. Irgunette, 113 and Alex Bisono, paid $5.60 and $4.40 and Bell Ange, 114 and Tonay Farina, paid $4.

Trained by Patrick Gallagher, Festival began her career in her native country, where she won three of 18 starts. She finished sixth in her U.S. debut in September at Santa Anita.

The victory was just the second for Sorenson in a Hollywood Park stakes race. His other win was with The Name's Jimmy in the 1992 Will Rogers Handicap.

(Chart, Equibase)