Diminutive Hong Kong Harry Rallies For Solid Neck Victory In Grade II, $200,000 City Of Hope Mile
DIMINUTIVE HONG KONG HARRY RALLIES FOR SOLID NECK VICTORY IN GRADE II, $200,000 CITY OF HOPE MILE IN 1:33.77
ARCADIA, CA (Sept. 30, 2023)—Idle since May 29, diminutive Irish-bred gelding Hong Kong Harry was sharp early and in control late as he attended the pace and rallied for a deceptively easy neck score in Sunday’s Grade III City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita. Contested over a course softened some by early rain, Hong Kong Harry, who is trained by Phil D’Amato, got this distance in 1:33.77 with Juan Hernandez aboard for the first time.
A joint fourth, about three lengths off Astronomer heading into the Club House turn, Hong Kong Harry was into the bridle in the run up the backside as he closed in the leader and War At Sea leaving the three furlong pole. Approaching the quarter pole, Hernandez hugged the rail and when War At Sea tired at the top of the lane, Hong Kong Harry angled outside Astronomer and went on to win with his ears pricked in a thoroughly professional performance.
Third, beaten 1 ½ lengths as the 8-5 favorite in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile on turf here May 29, Hong Kong Harry was as the even money favorite today among a field of nine and paid $4.20, $3.40 and $2.40.
A 6-year-old gelding who is now a two-time graded stakes winner over the Santa Anita turf, “Harry” has now won six of his 10 starts since coming to D’Amato’s barn in 2022, four of them coming in graded stakes.
Barely 15 hands tall, Hong Kong Harry is owned by Scott Anastasi, Jimmy Ukegawa and Tony Valazza. With an overall race record dating back to a first-out win at age four in Ireland of 1-10-2-2, he picked up $120,000 for today’s effort, boosting his earnings to $775,097.
Off at 8-1 with Antonio Fresu, Astronomer stayed gamely, finishing one length in front of French-bred Twist and returned $8.00 and $4.20.
Twist, covered up in the run to the first turn, had two horses beat early and rallied well over a course that appeared to be speed favoring. With Hector Berrios up, Twist, who was the second choice at 3-1, paid $2.60 to show while finishing a half length in front of Hit the Road.
Fractions on the race were 23.51, 47.67, 1:10.91 and 1:22.49.