Judging from his performance Monday in the $224,400 Carleton F. Burke Handicap, Alwuhush is aptly named.
In Arabic, Alwuhush means monster and the Nureyev colt certainly terrorized his nine opponents in the Grade I stake on closing day of the Oak Tree meeting.
Ridden by Jose Santos for Hall of Fame trainer Angel Penna, the Virginia-bred 4-year-old pulled away in the stretch and won by 4 1/2 lengths before 23,634.
After skipping the Breeders' Cup Turf, Alwuhush covered the mile and a quarter on the turf in 1:58, two ticks slower than Brown Bess did in winning the Yellow Ribbon on Sunday.
Never far behind pace-setter Speedratic, despite being very wide coming down the hillside, the 9-2 second choice took command with two furlongs to run and cruised to his fifth victory in 16 races.
He is one for one for Penna, who has trained notables such as Allez France, Waya, Relaxing, Private Account and Bold Reason, among others. Campaigned in Europe as a 2- and 3-year-old, Alwuhush joined his new barn after finishing a distant third in the Man o' War at Belmont in his first U.S. start Sept. 23.
"I didn't find out he wasn't going to be able to run in the Breeders' Cup until I got to Florida," Penna said. "But I think this is better for the horse. We had another week this way. Now I think we'll stay for the Hollywood Turf Cup (next month).
"I knew he had some speed and there wasn't much speed in the race, so I was glad to see him up close to the pace."
Santos was happy about the Burke and its $134,400 winner's share, but he would have loved a shot at the $2-million Turf at Gulfstream Park Nov. 4.
"I think he could have won that day," the jockey said. "He impressed me. I've been working him and every time I've gotten on him he's improved. He just took off at the quarter pole.
"This is a real good course. It's real fast and the horse handled it well. He never bobbled and horses used to it do that a lot here."
Frankly Perfect, the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, outran Speedratic by half a length for second. Haut Arandu was another nose back in fourth.
Making his first start since being beaten by a whisker in the Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park, Frankly Perfect had no real mishaps in his first race with Chris McCarron aboard.
"He finished strongly," McCarron said. "He was very strong the whole way. I had a little traffic to negotiate or I think he would have been a little closer second."
Pranke, who upset Frankly Perfect in the Sunset, tore the suspensory ligaments in his left front leg in the stretch and had to taken from the track in a van.
"There's no fracture and he's remarkably comfortable," Mark McCreary, assistant to trainer Eddie Gregson said later from the barn. "We'll have to see what happens in the next 24-48 hours."
Pranke, a 5-year-old son of Cipayo, was fitted with a splint and the concern is whether the blood supply to the injured area remains good.
Although Pranke would have posed no danger to Alwuhush, Laffit Pincay thinks he might have been second.
"He was really moving," he said. "Then, he just took a bad step. I could feel it going, but I had trouble pulling him up."
Oak Tree's 32-day season ended with increases in both daily average attendance and handle.
The average total attendance, including the nine inter-track locations, was 28,475, up slightly more than 5% over 1988. The average handle was an Oak Tree record $6,268,268, a bit more than 5% higher than last year.
On-track, however, the numbers were down a bit. The average attendance in Arcadia was 21,903, down 1.6% and the average handle of $5,016,340 was off two-tenths of a percent from 1988.
"We're very pleased with the increases in overall daily average attendance and handle, as well as the increases at the inter-track locations alone," said Ray Rogers, Oak Tree's executive vice president.
"But just as important is that our on-track business was virtually even with last year, which is against the general trend we've seen since the introduction of inter-track wagering."
Eddie Delahoussaye made it two straight riding titles with 40 victories. Russell Baze was second with 28 and Robbie Davis third with 26.
"(Agent) Terry (Lipham) has been working hard and doing well, we've been having some luck and I've been riding well," said Delahoussaye, who also won the Del Mar crown. "It's just a combination of things. It's exciting. You're riding with the best jockeys in the world and to be on top is a great achievement."
Ron McAnally, also repeating what he'd done at Del Mar, was the top trainer, picking up 13 wins, three more than Gregson and four more than Ron Ellis.