CHOSEN MIRACLE WINS $62,130 VENTURA HIGHWAY PURSE, HOLLENDORFER TRAINEE TAKES RACE NAMED FOR TUNE

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2012)—The Jerry Hollendorfer-conditioned Chosen Miracle coasted comfortably on the lead in taking Friday’s $62,130 Ventura Highway Purse at Santa Anita, negotiating 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course in 1:12.19 while winning by 1½ lengths.

Dispatched as the 3-2 favorite in the second condition allowance for older horses, Chosen Miracle, who was ridden by Joe Talamo, went to the front out of the gate and was pressured throughout by El Mirage King, who was handled by Chantal Sutherland.

“We were pretty much on cruise control the whole way,” said Talamo. “We had the six-horse (El Mirage King) outside of us but it didn’t bother him. We were confident today because I think he probably should’ve won last time (Jan. 14, at 6 ½ furlongs on turf). He propped a little when we came to the dirt and I think it cost him. Next time, I think a mile will be perfect for him.”

Chosen Miracle, a 4-year-old Florida-bred colt by Ghostzapper, who began his career last April in Chicago, missed by a nose in his most recent start.

“I kinda think he’ll go a mile,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “He relaxes so nicely and he tries hard every time.”

Owned by Abruzzo and Carver, Chosen Miracle carved out fractions of 22.16, 44.39 and 1:06.22. He paid $5.00, $3.20 and $2.80. With the winner’s share of $36,000, Chosen Miracle extended his career bankroll to $104,144. He now has an overall record of 3-2-1 from seven starts.

El Mirage King, who came off a win over the course on Jan. 15, was off at odds of 6-1 and paid $5.20 to place and $4.00 to show.

Details R Sketchy was another 1 ¾ lengths back with apprentice Eswan Flores up and paid $3.80 to show.

At the tender age of 22, Talamo could be excused for professing ignorance as to the race name’s origin—which was America’s 1972 hit “Ventura Highway.”

When apprised of the song’s lead lyrics: “Chewing on a piece of grass, walking down the road. Tell me, how long you gonna stay here Joe?” Talamo responded, “I’ve never heard of that.”

Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Saturday with first post on a 10-race card at 12:30 p.m. There is a carryover into Saturday’s Super High 5 of $32,913. The Super High 5 requires players to select the first five finishers of each day’s last race.

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