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HORSE RACING

El Cielo Is a Quick Study on Hollywood Park Turf

November 25, 2000|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A winner of seven of 10 turf sprints at Santa Anita, El Cielo proved he could handle Hollywood Park's turf course on Friday.

Making his first appearance on the Inglewood grass and his first start at a track other than Santa Anita since Dec. 3, 1998, the 6-year-old surged past Texas Glitter in the final yards to win the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express by a neck.

Trained by Craig Dollase for a partnership that includes Jess Miller and Larry Carr, El Cielo, the 2-1 favorite, earned his 10th victory in 15 lifetime starts.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani in place of regular jockey Jose Valdivia, who spent the week in Japan, El Cielo completed the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01 3/5. Last down the backstretch, Nakatani angled to the inside to save ground around the turn, then angled to the outside and collared 7-1 shot Texas Glitter, who lost for the first time in four starts on the grass in his California debut. After setting 22 and 43 4/5 splits, he wound up half a length in front of 2-1 second choice Full Moon Madness.

"He's got a heart as big as the track," Dollase said. "Corey rode him well. The inside move he made and then he came home really strong. I was a little concerned the distance might be a little short for him, but it set up for him and he prevailed."

Purely Cozzene was fourth, then came Treasure Hunt, Show Me The Stage and Five Star Day, who also had finished last in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

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Longshot Fantastic Filly gave trainer Bobby Frankel his record seventh Turf Festival victory, circling the field with a powerful late run to win the $200,000 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Making her first start in the United States after winning once in four tries in France, the 2-year-old daughter of Myrakalu paid $43 while completing the mile in 1:35 under jockey Garrett Gomez.

Perfect Timing, a 9-1 shot, gained the place by a head over pacesetter Eminent. Skatesheba, one of Frankel's two other Miesque entrants, was fourth.

"Boy, does she have a turn of foot," said Gomez of the winner, who is owned by Louis Scattaglia's Agri-Harvest Inc. "I had no idea going in that she was this good. Bobby has himself a good one. All he told me was that she was live in this race."

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Hoping to earn some support for an Eclipse award as the nation's top male turf performer, Manndar will seek his third graded stakes win of the year in today's $500,000 Citation Handicap.

The 3-1 second choice on Russ Hudak's morning line, the 4-year-old Irish-bred won the Woodford at Churchill Downs and the Manhattan at Belmont Park, both Grade I races, before encountering trouble when finishing second in the Arlington Million won by Chester House.

Manndar, trained by Beau Greely for a partnership, had a setback before the Breeders' Cup Turf, so he should improve on his eighth-place finish in that race in the Grade II Citation. Nakatani, who has a record nine Festival victories, will again ride.

Ladies Din, who was eighth in the Breeders' Cup Mile over a course he reportedly didn't care for, is the 5-2 favorite as he seeks his third win of 2000 for trainer Julio Canani.

Completing the field for the Citation are Jokerman, Super Quercus (who is looking for his first victory since last year's Hollywood Derby), Midnight Foxtrot, Kahal, Devine Wind, Charge D'Affaires, Asidero and Native Desert.

Three races earlier, Marine is the 3-1 favorite against nine other 2-year-olds in the $200,000 Generous Stakes at a mile on the turf.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Frankel, the Marju gelding won twice in seven starts in England and will race on Lasix for the first time.

Deeliteful Irving, Mr Freckles, High Tech Exec, Broadway Moon, Zillah The Hun, Learing At Kathy, Signore Pasquale, Startac and Media Mogul complete the field for the Grade III race.

Notes

There is a Pick Six carryover for today of $135,077. . . . Surfside collected her first win since March 12 with a gate-to-wire win against males in the $400,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. Ridden by Pat Day for trainer Wayne Lukas and Bill Young's Overbrook Farm, the 3-year-old Seattle Slew filly completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 3/5 and defeated 9-1 shot Guided Tour by four lengths. She paid $5.20. Aptitude, the 3-2 favorite, finished eighth, beaten by almost 15 lengths, in the field of nine. . . . Reciclada, the even-money choice, won the $150,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct under jockey Jerry Bailey. . . . Defending champion Affirmed Success is among 11 who will go in today's $350,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. Other top contenders in the final Grade I race of the year in New York are More Than Ready, El Corredor and Golden Missile, who will be making the final start of his career. There are two other stakes on the Aqueduct card, both for 2-year-olds. Easing Along is the likely favorite in the $200,000 Remsen and Celtic Melody and Two Item Limit top the $200,000 Demoiselle. . . . Crowning Meeting ($10) won the $100,000 Forty Niner Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

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