Special Rate wins the Bien Bien Stakes.

Special Rate wins the Bien Bien Stakes.


Hollywood Park Opener is 'Special'

Edited from track reports
Special Rate finished strong to capture Tuesday's third running of the $93,450 Bien Bien Stakes for 3-year olds by a nose in Hollywood Park's opening day feature.

Ridden by Jose Valdivia at 114 pounds, Special Rate covered the one mile on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:34 3/5. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, the bay colt paid $6.20, $3.60 and $3.20.

Royal Place, with Ryan Fogelsonger aboard at 115 pounds, held on for second and paid $9.60 and $5.80. White Buck, ridden by Kent Desormeaux at 119 pounds, paid $5.80 to show.

Royal Place broke well and led down the backstretch and through the final turn. Special Rate came on to challenge entering the stretch, took the lead and held in a battle of nose bobs for his first stakes win.

"When we passed the eighth-pole, my horse just found another gear," Valdivia said. "He just decided he was going to wear down the other horse, and that's exactly what happened. This is really a racehorse."

The Bien Bien was Special Rate's second career victory in six starts. The $43,470 that went to the winner increased Special Rate's total earnings to $87,790.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, Special Rate broke his maiden at Santa Anita last February and most recently finished second by a head there in a restricted allowance race. He was sired by Pulpit and is owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, Inc.