Citronnade Punches Dahlia Rivals
Photo: Benoit
Citronnade cruises to victory in the Dahlia Handicap.
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When Citronnade makes an easy lead she's nearly impossible to catch, as she demonstrated for her rivals in the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) for fillies and mares on the Hollywood Park turf course Dec. 16.

Breaking from the extreme outside in the scratched down field of nine, the odds-on favorite was hustled to the lead by regular rider David Flores going into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile test. From there, she carved easy fractions, widened her advantage coming into the stretch and won under an even hand ride by two lengths.

"Just a walk in the park," Flores said. "I only shook my reins at her a few times. There was nothing wrong with this filly today. She was unbelievable."

Citronnade carried top weight of 122 pounds but her task was made much easier by the earlier scratch of Nashoba's Key, who would have probably been favored had she started. Nashoba's Key is the only rival that has been capable of catching the Citronnade when she was on the lead this year, rallying to defeat her by three-quarters of a length in Oak Tree's Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) on the Santa Anita lawn Sept. 29.

Bobby Frankel trains the grade I winner Citronnade for Stronach Stables, which also bred her. Frankel won the Dahlia for the seventh time. The Hall of Fame conditioner enjoyed a sweep of Hollywood Park’s weekend stakes after sending out Country Star to win the Hollywood Starlet (gr. IT) Dec. 15.

Citronnade is now perfect in four starts on the Hollywood sod, including victories in the Gamely (gr. IT) and Beverly Hills (gr. IIT) this year.

The 4-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid  --Primarily, by Lord At War, chalked up her fifth graded win of the year in just seven starts. The victory, her ninth in 14 tries lifetime, increased her earnings to $864,205.

Citronnade got away with soft fractions of :24 1/5, :48 3/5 and 1:12 2/5 under a long hold while maintaining at least a one-length advantage over Trick's Pic and Foxysox. After widening her lead coming off the final turn, the bay filly wiggled her ears when asked to go by Flores and won as much the best. The final time was 1:41.49 on firm going. She paid $3.80, $2.60 and $2.40.

The stalking Black Mamba ($3.20, $2.80), who received six pounds from the winner, overcame some traffic while racing along the inside for Tyler Baze to edge Lavender Sky ($6) and Alex Solis by a neck for second. But neither closer threatened Citronnade. Flores was peeking back for any rivals in the final furlong.

"There just wasn't any speed to hook that horse," Baze complained. "My filly ran an awesome race, she's just getting better and better. There was a little bit of traffic on the turn, but I found my spot and went. She was just unlucky to run in a race that didn't set up for her."

Marietta nosed Maribel for fourth. They were followed by Hucking Hot, Memorette, Trick's Pic and Foxysox. Live Life and Shermeen were also scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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