ARCADIA, CA – A mad dash to the finish saw Qatar Racing Limited’s True Valour get his head past his foes at the wire in Saturday’s $200,000 City of Hope Mile Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 3 under Drayden Van Dyke at 16/1 odds, True Valour was initially forwardly-placed but soon took back slightly to save ground on the rail heading into the clubhouse turn. Up front, Kingly zoomed off through opening fractions of :22.58, :45.50, and 1:09.04 while True Valour settled in mid-pack.
Entering the far turn, the field bunched up, and Restrainedvengence was the first to make a bid for the lead. Van Dyke remained patiently waiting until the top of the stretch, when he tipped True Valour out and commenced a rally toward the front.
Eating up ground with every step over the front stretch, True Valour was able to sidle alongside and past a rallying Prince Earl before poking his head in front late. The Simon Callaghan trainee crossed in a final time of 1:32.82 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.
“Simon told me to keep him covered up, that’s the main thing,” said Van Dyke, who earlier on the card took home the L.A. Woman Stakes (G3) in a photo finish aboard Lady Ninja. “If he sees daylight, he gets aggressive, which he was early. From there, I just tried to find a path and someone to follow. I knew I had won.”
Restrainedvengence nosed out the 5/2 favorite Prince Earl for third, with Kingly a head back and Big Score a neck behind him in fifth. Catapult nosed out Andesh for sixth, while behind them came Synchrony, Ohio, Bolo, and River Boyne to complete the order of finish.
True Valour’s win was his second straight, following a triumph in the Thunder Road Stakes (G3) here on February 9. The Irish-bred 5-year-old son of Kodiac now carries a record of 19-5-2-0 with $355,112 earned.
“He’s such a cool horse,” Callaghan said. “It was nice to get the head bob today. He had some time off after the Thunder Road Stakes due to some minor bone bruising and we wanted to give him some time off. We felt we had him really fit today.”
True Valour returned $35.80 to win, $16.20 to place, and $7 to show. Restrainedvengence brought back $38 to place and $18 to show, while Prince Earl paid $3.60 to show.