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Grade I races at Oak Tree

September 28, 2008|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

$250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship.

1 1/4 miles. Turf. 3-year-olds and up.

The finish: 1. Red Giant, 2. Out of Control, 3. Transduction Gold.

The scoop: Red Giant, a 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, overtook Out of Control in a stretch duel to win by a head in a world-record time of 1:57.16. Jockey John Velazquez had Red Giant perfectly placed in third for much of the race during a sizzling pace by You Got Me Rocking.

The connections: Trained by Todd Pletcher, Red Giant shipped in from New York after winning the Grade II Fourstardave at Saratoga last month.

The jockey's view: "I knew they were going pretty fast in front of me, and I didn't want to move too soon," Velazquez said.

$250,000 Lady's Secret Stakes. 1 1/16 miles. Fillies and mares. 3-year-olds and up.

The finish: 1. Zenyatta, 2. Hystericalady, 3. Santa Teresita.

The scoop: In a four-horse field that remained tightly bunched throughout, unbeaten Zenyatta came from the outside turning into the stretch and used her long strides to blow past the competition for her eighth consecutive victory.

The connections: Zenyatta's trainer, John Shirreffs, and owners Jerry and Ann Moss, won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo.

The jockey's view: "She's flawless," Mike Smith said. "Her race today was incredible."

$250,000 Ancient Title Stakes. 6 furlongs. 3-year-olds and up.

The finish: 1. Cost of Freedom, 2. Street Boss, 3. Idiot Proof.

The scoop: Cost of Freedom pulled off the upset victory at 5-1 odds, holding off the odds-on favorite Street Boss by a half length.

The connections: Owners Gary and Cecil Barber claimed the 5-year-old son of Cee's Tizzy for $50,000 at Del Mar.

The jockey's view: "Street Boss was the horse to beat, and I wanted to get the jump on him," Tyler Baze said. "At the 5/16ths pole, I looked behind me and decided to go and it worked out perfect."

$250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes. 1 1/16 miles. 2-year-olds. Fillies.

The finish: 1. Stardom Bound, 2. Palacio de Amor, 3. Oro Blanco.

The scoop: In her first race around two turns, the daughter of Tapit was impressive, rallying five wide around the final turn under jockey Mike Smith to win going away by 3 1/2 lengths as the 4-5 favorite.

The connections: Trained by Christopher Paasch and owned by Charles Cono, Stardom Bound was purchased for $375,000 at a Florida 2-year-olds-in-training sale.

The jockey's view: "She's my baby Zenyatta," Smith said. "They both lag back and just gallop along and start picking up horses."

$400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes. 1 1/4 miles. Turf. 3-year-olds and up. Fillies and mares.

The finish: 1. Wait A While, 2. Vacare, 3. Black Mamba.

The scoop: Wait a While, winner of the 2006 Yellow Ribbon, improved to three for three on the Santa Anita turf with a convincing victory.

The connections: Mike McCarthy, the assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher, said, "I kept on looking for Black Mamba, and by the time I saw her, it was too late."

The jockey's view: It was the second Grade I win of the day for Velasquez, who has 3,999 career victories. "She's going to be real tough [in the Breeders' Cup] on this course," he said.

$500,000 Goodwood Stakes. 1 1/8 miles. 3-year-olds and up.

The finish: 1. Well Armed, 2. Tiago, 3. Albertus Maximus.

The scoop: The 5-year-old son of Tiznow stalked the pacesetters in third place, took the lead in the stretch and held off a late charge from Tiago.

The connections: Well Armed has been a model of consistency for trainer Eoin Harty and owner WinStar Farms. He lost by a neck to Go Between in the Pacific Classic, one race after winning the San Diego Handicap.

The jockey's view: "He's just a good horse and showed he doesn't need to lead to win," Aaron Gryder said.

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