Sunday, December 1st, 2019   ( 1 year ago )

Oscar Dominguez Notches Upset in Hollywood Turf Cup

Oscar Dominguez

Oscar Dominguez © Benoit Photo

Irish-bred Oscar Dominguez, claimed for $40,000 last winter at Santa Anita, rallied from last place under a typically patient ride by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez to win the Grade II $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Sunday.

Oscar Dominguez, a six-year-old gelding claimed by trainer Richard Baltas on behalf of owners Nancy Messineo of Long Beach and Bruce Sands of Dana Point, gained command in deep stretch and then held off the belated challenge of even-money favored United to win by neck in 2:28.17 for the mile and one-half on grass.

United, coming into the race after a bang-up second to Horse of the Year contender Bricks and Mortar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf a month ago, rallied late under Flavien Prat to make it close, while finishing a head in front of third-place Ward’n Jerry. Cleopatra’s Strike was fourth in the field of ten turf runners.

Oscar Dominguez, a chestnut son of Zoffany, went postward at 11-1 and returned $24.20, $7.40 and $5 while earning $120,000 with his sixth win in 37 starts. His bankroll now is $427,630.

Second-place United paid $2.80 and $2.40, while Ward’n Jerry returned $9.20 to show.

JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Oscar Dominguez, winner) – “No special instructions from the trainer. He said ‘You’ve seen the PPs, you know how to ride, go do it.’ That’s how I like it. He came away from there well and the pace was fine. He was comfortable, so I left him alone. When we hit the three-eighths (pole) we squeezed between two horses and then he took it (clapping his hands together). It sure is nice when they do that.”

FLAVIEN PRAT (United, second) – “They really slowed it down on the backside and I found myself too far back. He ran a good race; he tried.”

FLORENT GEROUX (Ward ‘n Jerry, third) – “I had a great trip, but I’m really disappointed. I really thought I was going to win it.”

RICHARD BALTAS (Oscar Dominguez, winner) – “Hall of Fame ride. This means a lot. We claimed the horse for $40,000 and he’s been overachieving the whole time we’ve had him. Today there was enough pace for him to run at, John (Velazquez) was here to ride him and everything worked out. (On winning the meet training title) “Every year I get a little bit better horses to train. My clients have been backing me and I have a good team working for me. I’ve been second or third and had good meets. This year I just had a little bit better numbers and a little bit more quality of horses. It means a lot.”

FRACTIONS:   :23.68  :48.65  1:13.43  1:38.83  2:03.79  2:28.17

The stakes win was the first of the meet and the first in the Hollywood Turf Cup for rider Velazquez. He now has eight stakes wins at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the third of the meet, but first in the Hollywood Turf Cup for trainer Baltas. He now has 14 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The winning owners are Nancy Messineo of Long Beach, CA and Bruce Sands of Dana Point, CA.