Race Recaps

Manitoulin All Man In G2 Hollywood Turf Cup

DEL MAR, CA – Darby Dan Farm’s Manitoulin made his first stakes victory a big one, emerging first from the stretch duel in Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes at Del Mar.

Off strongly from post 6 under Mike Smith, Manitoulin dueled Tequila Joe on the front end through fractions of :25.30, :51.36, 1:17.08, and 1:43.00. Set down for the stretch drive, Manitoulin poked his head in front and began inching away from the field when Smith lost the whip at the 1/16 pole. Manitoulin dug in as the favored Chicago Style drew close, with the James Toner trainee holding off his foe by a neck at the wire in a final time of 2:30.16 for the 1 1/2-mile turf event.

“I was a little surprised Mike had him up so far, but Mike told me in the paddock that there wasn’t a lot of speed and he wanted to put him in the race, which was brilliant,” said Tiffany Webb, Toner’s assistant. “I was a little afraid at the top of the lane when Mike wasn’t asking him and I saw Chicago Style getting geared up. But I told Mike in the paddock that I know this horse and he’s always going to stick his nose out in front. I know he’s a fighter, and I knew that if somebody came to him, he’d fight on.”

Flamboyant never threatened the leaders but was a clear third ahead of a fading Tequila Joe. LottiePrince of Arabia, and Inordinate completed the order of finish. Infobedad and Prime Attraction were scratched.

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Unplaced in three previous stakes attempts, the win was the New York-based Manitoulin’s first start at Del Mar. The 4-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again improved his record to 17-5-3-1, including 7-4-1-0 in 2017, with career earnings of $394,506. For Smith, the win felt familiar.

“I’ve got some history here,” Smith said. “I rode his mother (Soaring Softly) and I rode the sire, too. It was just like (Toner) told me. He said ‘He can get a little lazy on you.’ He said if I dropped my hands, he’d back right out of there. He said warm him up good; get his blood pumping. Make him think he’s running a 1/2-mile instead of 1 1/2. It worked out just right.”

Manitoulin returned $10.40 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.40 to show. Chicago Style brought back $3.40 to place and $2.40 to show, while Flamboyant paid $2.60 to show.

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