Patrick Valenzuela became the first jockey in 20 years to sweep all five major Southern California riding titles in the same year when he brought a maiden, 6-1 shot Hollywood Story, from behind to win the $349,500 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies.
In typical P. Val fashion, he survived a stewards' inquiry to do it.
The victory was the 27th victory of the Hollywood fall meeting for Valenzuela and made the 41-year-old rider the first since Chris McCarron in 1983 to sweep the Southern California jockey colony.
"Unbelievable," Valenzuela said. "It was a Hollywood Story. It's unbelievable the way things have turned out. At the beginning of Santa Anita last December, who could have thought this ever would have happened?
"This filly ran a helluva race today," he added. "She relaxed right behind the leaders and there was a good pace up front. At the quarter-pole, she shot away and got to the leader, then put her away the last eighth. So she ran a great race."
At the rear of the six-horse field heading into the final turn, Valenzuela rallied Hollywood Story three wide to move into contention at the top of the stretch. The John Shirreffs-trained Kentucky-bred daughter of Wild Rush poured on the heat down the lane to sweep past pacesetting Rahy Dolly inside the eighth pole and win going away by 2 3/4 lengths. Rahy Dolly, ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., was 4 1/2 lengths ahead of House of Fortune and Alex Solis in third.
She became the first maiden to capture the 1 1/16-mile Starlet in 23 runnings of the grade I event. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile test was 1:42 4/5.
Victory U.S.A., the 9-10 favorite ridden by David Flores, stalked the pace from the inside into the stretch before fading to fourth, beaten by 11 1/4 lengths.
Hollywood Story circled Victory U.S.A. and House of Fortune coming out of the final turn and shifted inward after passing House of Fortune. Solis abruptly stood in the saddle as his mount nearly clipped heals with the winner and pulled his filly's head to the outside before resuming the chase.
Valenzuela admitted it was close, but blamed the inside horse, Victory U.S.A., for also angling out.
"Alex got close to my heels," said Valenzuela, who has been the subject of numerous riding inquiries on the circuit this year. "But the stewards saw that I had much the best horse. I would have respected their decision either way."
Rahy Dolly, a maiden winner at six furlongs in her debut, was away quickly for Valdivia and gave Valenzuela and Hollywood Story the sort of fractions they were looking for: :23, :46 3/5 and 1:10 4/5. Rahy Dolly opened up a sizeable advantage in the stretch, but was no match for the winner in the closing stages.
It was the fourth grades stakes race for Hollywood Story, who was winless in four previous tries. She was fourth, beaten by 12 lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 25, in her most recent start. Prior to that, she was third in the Oak Leaf (gr. II) at the Arcadia track in September, and second in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) a month earlier. Likely 2-year-old filly divisional champion Halfbridled won all three races.
Hollywood Story earned $209,700 for owner George Krikorian, pushing her career bankroll to $356,500. She was purchased for $130,000 at Fasig-Tipton in July 2002. Vinery bred her from the dam Wife for Life, by Dynaformer.
Valenzuela, meanwhile, finished the 30-day meeting with three more wins than Victor Espinoza. Julie Krone, who missed the final seven days of the meeting due to injury, finished with 23 wins, good for a tie for third with Tyler Baze. Mike Smith and Martin Pedroza were deadlocked for fifth place with 22 wins each.
Hollywood Story paid $14.60, $5.60 and $4.40. Rahy Dolly returned $5.80 and $6. House of Fortune's show was $3.80. The $2 exacta was worth $77.60.
Rings and Things was fifth, followed by Dixie High.
Jeff Mullins saddled 13 winners to earn his first training title at a major meeting. Doug O'Neill and Bobby Frankel tied for second with 12 wins apiece.