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HORSE RACING

Northern Soldier Wins Barrera

May 21, 2006|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

A 3-year-old with a two-race winning streak won the $150,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Only it wasn't either of the top two betting choices -- 13-10 favorite Arson Squad and Quietly Go, who was 2-1 -- who kept their roll going in the Grade II stakes race.

Rather, it was Northern Soldier, a 9-1 longshot, who won a third in a row, remaining unbeaten in his Southern California debut for trainer Brian Koriner.

Ridden by Chance Rollins, who had been aboard for the Yankee Victor colt's two earlier wins at Golden Gate Fields, Northern Soldier pressed the pace set by 6-1 outsider Remembering Star for most of the seven furlongs, then took over near the wire to win by three-quarters of a length.

In his graded stakes debut, the $30,000 2-year-old purchase, who is owned by Julie Berta, Evan Trommer and E Racing.Com, covered the distance in 1 minute 22.46 seconds.

"He ran really great," said Rollins, who also won the Barrera with Captain Squire in 2002. "The first time I rode him up north, he ran very game. He was on the inside, a horse passed him and he battled back and won by a head.

"The next time he ran he won easy, so we thought he was a nice colt, but there was really nowhere to run him up north, so they brought him here.

"It worked out. It looks like we might have a really nice one here."

Remembering Star, who was coming off an easy maiden win in his first start at Hollywood Park on April 26, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Arson Squad, who closed fastest of all after dropping well back early under new rider Jose Valdivia Jr.

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Sunriver, the 6-5 favorite, probably earned himself a start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10 with a victory by a neck over 13-1 Lewis Michael in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.

Excluded from the Kentucky Derby because of insufficient graded stakes earnings, Sunriver, a son of Saint Ballado, won for the third time in seven starts for owner-breeders Aaron and Marie Jones and trainer Todd Pletcher.

He ran the 1 1/8 miles in the Grade II race under jockey Rafael Bejarano in 1:49.39. Strong Contender, the 2-1 second choice, finished third.

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In other stakes races around the country, Bonfante and jockey Russell Baze teamed to win the $100,000 California Turf Sprint Championship at Bay Meadows and Changing Weather, at 6-1, won the $100,000 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs.

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