Futural edged betting favorite Skimming by a length Saturday in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park.
Ridden by Chris McCarron, Futural ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.02, and paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.20. Skimming returned $2.60 and $2.20, and Moonlight Charger paid $2.80 to show. The $1 exacta returned $6.40.
"It was my first time on him, and he performed really well," said McCarron, who rode Precisionist to victory in the 1985 Mervyn LeRoy. "He showed good speed and made Skimming run around that first turn to secure a position, which helped me out-finish him. This horse is game, and he likes to win photos. He obviously has improved a great deal."
Euchre finished fourth, with Devine Wind fifth.
A 5-year-old gelding, Futural (Future Storm -- Twigazuri, by Dixieland Band) earned $90,000 for the win to boost his career earnings to $418,700. The win was the third straight for Futural, coming on the heels of his San Bernardino (gr. II) and Tokyo City Cup Handicap victories. The Craig Dollase trainee was bred in Florida by Harry T. Mangurian Jr. The win improved Futural's career record to seven wins from 18 career starts.
"This horse is a tryer," Dollase said. "When it comes to a stretch duel with him, he is a fighter all the way. I was a little concerned at the start when he stumbled like he did. He got a little hesitant in the gate, but it all worked out. When they break like that and get bumped, you don't know how they're gonna run."
Dollase said the Californian Stakes would be the next likely race for Futural. (Chart, Equibase