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PREAKNESS STAKES

Patience Pays Off for Blanc, Granja Realeza in Valkyr

May 18, 1997|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jockey Brice Blanc doubled his victory output for the Hollywood Park meeting Saturday.

A victory aboard Granja Realeza in the $111,400 Valkyr Handicap was enough to do the trick for the French-born rider, who had won with only one of his first 46 mounts in Inglewood through the first 16 programs.

Known primarily for his patience, Blanc, 24, gave Granja Realeza just that kind of ride and it was enough for her to hold off 9-1 shot Avenue Shopper by three-quarters of a length and win in 1:02 3/5 for the 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

After an impressive gate-to-wire victory in her first start on the grass in an allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. 21 and a third-place finish in the La Habra after setting wicked splits 15 days later, the gray daughter of Slew's Royalty was wisely rated off the hot pace Saturday.

While Distinguish Forum, Iza Bon Bon and Karakorum battled, Blanc and the 6-1 shot sat a few lengths behind, then split horses in the stretch to win for the third time in nine starts overall.

"I really had no place to run her the last couple of months, except for this race," said Cotton Tinsley, who trains Granja Realeza for Granja Vista Del Rio Stable. "She loves the grass and the way she ran on the turf at Santa Anita, I thought this would be the best place for her.

"We've had hopes for her. We were offered quite a bit of money for her when she broke her maiden, but the owner didn't want to sell. We got lucky."

Often her own worst enemy in the past, Granja Realeza was much more settled Saturday.

"She was really nervous the last two times she ran, but was really relaxed today," Blanc said. "They did a lot of work to get her to relax and it was the difference.

"She used to be real crazy. They couldn't get a saddle on her sometimes. She was real washed out in her last two races, but today she was bucking and playing . . . really relaxed."

Avenue Shopper, who hasn't been worse than second in five starts at the Valkyr distance on the Hollywood Park turf, finished a neck in front of Flying In The Lane, then came Magic Fantasy, Distinguish Forum, Iza Bon Bon, Sheza Valentine (the narrow 7-2 favorite), Karakorum, Ivory Mint and Fickle Flirt.

*

A 10-length winner in her California debut a little more than two months ago, I Ain't Bluffing is the 8-5 favorite against six other 3-year-old fillies in today's $100,000 Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Owned by Jan, Mace and Samantha Siegel and trained by Ron Ellis, the daughter of Pine Bluff had a minor setback after that victory in 1:09 1/5, but seems on track now as she has worked five times locally in the last month.

With Gary Stevens still away after riding Silver Charm to victory Saturday in the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore, Eddie Delahoussaye will ride I Ain't Bluffing, who won one of three starts in Kentucky last year.

Fourth as the 13-10 favorite in the Senorita Stakes last month, Really Happy is the 2-1 second choice and she will be trying to remain unbeaten in one-turn races. She is perfect in four sprints at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Horse Racing Notes

Banker's Gold, who has won all three of his starts, is the likely favorite for today's $150,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park. Eddie Maple will ride the colt for trainer Allen Jerkens and owner Georgia Hoffman. Only four others will go in the 1 1/8-mile race--Jack Flash, who was seventh in the Kentucky Derby, Prince Guistino, Activist and Zede. . . . There was a lengthy delay before the day's seventh race at Hollywood Park when the rail just inside the sixteenth pole had to be repaired. The tractor, which removed the starting gate from the turf course after the start of the sixth race, apparently damaged the rail. This made a long day even longer as the final race didn't end until 6:32 p.m., close to 5 1/2 hours after Miss Daisy June won the first live race and more than nine hours after the gates opened.

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