A year that so many would most like to forget has gone well for trainer Brad Cox, at least professionally.
Cox, who tied Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s record of four wins in one Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland three weeks ago, took his first victory on the Del Mar bet on Friday when Arklow, the 9-5 favorite, collected to win the $ 200,000 Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup.
Arklow, a 6-year-old son of Arch, came fifth in the 12-horse field after the first half mile of the 1/2 mile turf marathon. He had moved up to second place under Joel Rosario by the time the field reached the track, then beat Laccario and jockey Manny Franco by half the length in a record time of 2: 26.31 – only .12 of a second shy of the course record (Talismanic, 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf).
Say the Word, with Flavien Prat on board, closed the fastest and finished third, another half-length back, making it a 1-2-3 finish for the three Eastern invaders. A 50 cent trifecta in the top three was worth $ 27.90.
“It sort of worked out the way we set it up,” said Blake, Cox’s son, who is assisting his father, who is in Churchill Downs, Kentucky this weekend. “Joel was able to get a really good stalking position and finish strong after that.”
Rosario rode the horse for the first time in 31 races at Arklow. He has won eight of these starts and increased his bankroll to $ 2,666,116 with the first place check for $ 120,000.
“It broke well and we got a good spot,” said Rosario. “I hit the brakes a bit because I felt comfortable where we were. I saved ground with him and then went out a bit. I could see we were moving slowly so I thought it was okay to be closer to him. He went well. ”
Pacemaker Acclimate, who came fourth with Tyler Baze, pulled moderate fractions of 24.51, 49.64, 1: 14.55 and 1: 38.78 before Arklow and the other two Eastern skippers came home.
“When we went home I knew he was a fighter and I knew he was going to be hard to beat,” said Rosario. “He finished strong. He’s a good horse. ”
Blake Cox hinted what the next step might be for Arklow, who finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 7.
“The next step belongs to (owners) Jerry Crawford and Donegal Racing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pegasus World Cup Turf (January 23rd at Gulfstream Park) is on the radar,” he said.
The Hollywood Turf Cup was the second of seven turf stakes races this weekend as part of Del Mar’s Turf Festival, which has drawn many of the country’s best riders to the seaside oval this holiday weekend.
Three bets are scheduled for Saturday, including the $ 300,000 Grade I Hollywood Derby for three-year-olds. The $ 200,000 Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap and $ 100,000 Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies are also part of the nine-race program.
On Sunday, the $ 300,000 Grade I Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares and the $ 100,000 Grade III Cecil B. DeMille Stakes for 2-year-olds are part of a 10-race card that concludes Del Mar’s Fall Bing Crosby.
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