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HOLLYWOOD PARK : Leger Cat Wins, Sets a Record

May 10, 1993|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When Leger Cat finished fourth in the Shoemaker Handicap on April 25, it was the first time the 7-year-old had finished worse than second in seven starts on the Hollywood Park turf course.

The slump didn't last long for Leger Cat, who is owned by Ed Allred and Hollywood Park chairman R.D. Hubbard.

Leger Cat scored his sixth victory in eight Inglewood starts by defeating Rainbow Corner by a head in the $163,200 John Henry Handicap on Sunday.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani for trainer Richard Mandella, the 5-1 shot covered the 1 1/8 miles in a stakes-record 1:45, a fifth of a second off the course record set by Tight Spot on May 8, 1991.

Always near the lead, Leger Cat led 9-1 shot Jahafil by a head with a furlong to run, then held on to beat a fast-closing Rainbow Corner, the 5-2 second choice who raced coupled with Marquetry. Jahafil, in his first start on Lasix, was a nose back in third.

Alnasr Alwasheek, the even-money favorite after an impressive victory at Santa Anita in his American debut, finished last in the eight-horse field.

"His form was in and out in England," trainer Neil Drysdale said of Alnasr Alwasheek. "The race set up all right . . . he just didn't fire. (Jockey) Eddie Delahoussaye said he made a move around the turn, then flattened out."

Delahoussaye said he thought he would win when Alnasr Alwasheek started to rally on the outside on the turn.

"He was running easy," Delahoussaye said. "Then, nearing the quarter-pole, he just gave it all up. He came back good. He shouldn't have stopped like that."

It was Leger Cat's 11th victory in 35 starts and increased his earnings to $710,568.

*

Pat Valenzuela and Corey Black, who rode also-rans Marquetry and River Majesty, respectively, in the John Henry, were involved in a brief altercation shortly after the race.

They exchanged words in the jockey's room after Black voiced displeasure with Valenzuela's ride, then punches were thrown. Valenzuela and Black were quickly separated, but they continued to have words for a short time. Marquetry finished fifth in the John Henry and River Majesty was sixth.

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