ARCADIA, Calif. (May 31, 2014)–Seizing upon a rail opening at the top of the lane, Joe Talamo pointed Clubhouse Ride inside of heavily favored Fury Kapcori, with Corey Nakatani up, and prevailed in a head and head duel to the wire to win Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Californian Stakes by a half length while covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.74.
Trained by Craig Lewis, the venerable Clubhouse Ride was also a winner of last year’s Californian, which was run at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park dating back to 1954.
“We had a great trip,” said Talamo, who also notched his third consecutive win on the card. “We were a little further back than I thought we would be, but we were in a comfortable spot. He seemed to pick it up a little every eighth of a mile and when I saw Corey drift out a little into Storm Fighter, I dove in there and he fought ’em off the rest of the way. He ran really nice.”
Off at 6-1 in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up, Clubhouse Ride, a 6-year-old horse by Candy Ride, paid $15.00, $4.40 and $3.00. Owned by Six-S Racing Stable or Petralia, Clubhouse Ride won for the fifth time in his 37th start. With the winner’s share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $1,220,132.
“This horse is as tough as they come, he’s an alley fighter,” said Lewis. “He comes to run. His bankroll indicates it. We were a little surprised because we thought that (Bruce) Headley’s horse (Storm Fighter) would go and that Fury Kapcori would try to track him.
“It kind of worked out in a different way, but we don’t care how it comes out just as long as we’re victorious. I knew Joe had a lot of horse. I was just a little concerned if he was going to find daylight, but Joe’s a great rider and the horse is very game.”
Asked if the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (on June 28) would be next: “It’s a strong likelihood.”
Off at 1-2, Fury Kapcori set fractions of 22.47, 45.97 and 1:35.53 while pressured to the top of the lane by Storm Fighter, who was ridden by Edwin Maldonado.
“It seems like the track’s been playing to closers today,” said Nakatani. “My horse tried really hard, but speed hasn’t been doing well.”
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and in search of his fifth consecutive win, Fury Kapcori finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of Majestic Harbor and paid $2.40 and $2.10.
“The pace seemed to be not unusual for this level,” said Hollendorfer.
Majestic Harbor was mid-pack early under Tyler Baze, was caught four wide turning for home and was just up for the show, finishing a nose in front of Majestic City and Mike Smith.
Off at 6-1, Majestic Harbor paid $3.00 to show.