Vintage RYAN MOORE….
Maurice signs off with stupendous Cup win
RACING POST – BY KEITH MELROSE
Report: Sha Tin, Sunday
Longines Hong Kong Cup (Group 1), 1m2f, 3yo+, turf
RYAN MOORE was out of luck on Highland Reel, but he provided a champion’s performance in the saddle as Maurice swept to a valedictory success in the Longines Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Moore has struck up a dominant partnership with the Noriyuki Hori-trained five-year-old, who took his record at Sha Tin to four from four with a magnificent three-length success.
MAURICE, a Group 1 winner three times aboard, is by Screen Hero, winner of the Japan Cup and a son of Grass Wonder (by Silver Hawk) from the Carnegie mare Mejiro Frances (Jpn).
He retired to stud with 13 wins in 20 races.
Maurice is inbred 5x5x4x5 to Northern Dancer.
Earlier, Breeders’ Cup Turf winner HIGHLAND REEL led for almost all of the 1 1/2 mile HONG KONG VASE but was caught by Japanese colt SATONO CROWN, a son of Marju from the Irish mare Jioconda by Rossini.
MASTERY REMAINS UNBEATEN IN CASHCALL
91 Beyer Speed Figure
Heavily-favored Mastery easily passed his first two-turn test, rolling to a record-setting victory in the Grade I, $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity Saturday. About an hour after Mastery’s dominance as the 1-5 choice, Abel Tasman posted a 12-1 surprise in the Grade I, $301,380 Starlet, wearing down 9-10 favorite American Gal in the closing yards.
The third win for Mastery, an undefeated 2-year-old son of Candy Ride and the Old Trieste mare Steady Course added to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s record in the Futurity, which has been run at Los Alamitos since 2014 after 33 renewals (1981-2013) at Hollywood Park. Mastery’s 7 ¼ length score – the largest margin of victory in race history, eclipsing the seven lengths Matty G won by in 1995 – was the ninth in the Futurity for Baffert, including all three at Los Alamitos. He won with Dortmund in 2014 and Mor Spirit last year.
Owned by Everett Dobson’s Cheyenne Stables, Mastery battled through rapid fractions (23.37, 45.65 and 1:09.53 for six furlongs) while perched outside pacesetter Bobby Abu Dhabi, took over the lead early in the stretch, repelled a mild challenge from Irap, a maiden and the longest shot in the field at nearly 24-1, before accelerating away under Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith.
With the blinkers returning that he had worn in his Santa Anita debut Oct. 22, Mastery completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.56, not far off the track record of 1:40.86 set by Uncle Lino in the California Chrome Stakes earlier this year (April 30). The $180,000 payday boosted his bankroll to $271,200.
A $425,000 purchase at the 2015 Keeneland September sale, Mastery paid $2.40 and $2.10. There was no show wagering. Irap, who was making his first start on dirt after finishing third and fourth in two races on turf, returned $9.40.
Dangerfield, Bobby Abu Dhabi and the Baffert-trained Show Me Da Lute, who was the 9-2 second choice, completed the order of finish.
The win price was the shortest in Futurity history. The previous low was $2.60 by the Baffert-trained Point Given in 2000.
“You don’t know how they are going to do going two turns for the first time until they try it,’’ said Baffert. “Turning for home he hit a bit of a lull and I didn’t know if he was going go on or flatten out. (Smith) said it was a good thing I put the blinkers back on him because he hit the brakes when he made the lead.
“The last part he threw it in another gear. I thought we would be up pretty close, but I knew (Bobby Abu Dhabi) was a fast horse and he looked fast in the paddock. I was worried when I saw the fractions, but then he looked like he handled it pretty well. He withstood it and kicked on again at the end.’’
Smith, who earned his initial Futurity victory with Lion Heart in 2003, was impressed with the dark bay, who he rode for the first time in a Grade III victory in the Bob Hope Stakes Nov. 19 at Del Mar.
“He relaxed and I think the key was (Baffert) putting the blinkers back on,’’ he said. “He started looking around a little when he made the front in the stretch, but after I gave him a reminder he re-broke and was strong. His gallop out was also very good.’’
In the Starlet, Abel Tasman took advantage of a quick pace and a ground-saving trip from jockey Joe Talamo to win her third in a row for owner-breeder Clearsky Farms and trainer Simon Callaghan. A 2-year-old Quality Road filly out of the Deputy Minister mare Vargas Girl, Abel Tasman, who was seventh after the opening quarter of a mile, won by one length in 1:42.25 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Supplemented to the Starlet for $10,000 a few days earlier, Abel Tasman paid $27.20, $7.60 and $5.60. She increased her earnings to $247,860. Her lone loss in four starts came when she was fifth in her sprint debut Aug. 20 at Del Mar.
“We thought she would definitely be more forwardly placed, but (Talamo) went to Plan B and it worked out,’’ said Callaghan. “He saved ground and gave her a real chilly ride.
”I think the distance is the key for this filly. We decided to supplement because she was getting good at the right time and I thought she had the stamina for this race.’’
The victory was the second in the Starlet for Talamo, who captured the race in 2011 at Hollywood Park with 14-1 outsider Killer Graces.
“(Abel Tasman) is improving with every start and I knew she was going to run big today because she came home great in her last workout (Dec. 3),’’ said Talamo. “The added distance was in her favor and it looked on paper like there was a lot of speed to help set things up.’’
Victimized by a slow start and an extremely wide trip when third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 5, American Gal was wide again Saturday. The lost ground took its toll late as she squandered a 1 ½ length lead in the final eighth of a mile.
“She had more or less the same kind of trip as she did in the Breeders’ Cup,’’ said Smith. “I couldn’t get behind them to get over and I couldn’t get in front of them to get over. The long stretch got to her. I think with a normal trip maybe I win.’’
American Gal, who finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of 33-1 shot Mopotism, paid $2.60 and $2.20 while the show price on Mopotism, a maiden making her third start, was $6.40.
GULFSTREAM PARK – RAIN BRINGS SLOP, OFF TURF
WINNERS – RITZY LASS, bred by Paradox farm in Ontario, won an allowance/optional claiming race at Penn National on Sat. night. The Old Forester filly is out of Ritzy Dame by Distorted Humor and is a 4-year-old racing for James Wolf.
She won the 1 1/16 mile race by a neck at even-money in 1:46.66.
I SCREAM SUNDAY, owned and bred by Frank DiGiulio Jr. won race 6 at Penn National, a $6,250 claiming race at 5 1/2 furlongs. The Silent Name – Whispertoascream, by Honr Grades 4yo won by 2 lengths in 1:05.44 and she is trained at Penn National by Sandee Martin.