Sunday, December 21, 2008
VALDIVIA GIVES VACARE PERFECT TRIP AS CLEMENT GETS 1,000TH WIN
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2008) — Odds-on favorite Vacare, given a perfect trip by Jose Valdivia Jr., overhauled Gotta Have Her and In My Glory in the stretch to score a one-length victory in Sunday’s $150,000 Dahlia Handicap at Hollywood Park as trainer Christophe Clement notched career win No. 1,000 in the Grade II event.
Vacare, a 5-year-old daughter of Lear Fan making her final career start, covered 1 1/16 miles on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:41.13 under high weight of 122 pounds to score her eighth win in 14 career starts. Gotta Have Her, who pressed pacesetter In My Glory, prevailed by a half-length over the 18-1 shot to earn second money in the closing-day feature.
Vacare, beaten two lengths while finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in her previous start, won the Palomar Handicap three starts back at Del Mar. In between, the classy Kentucky-bred finished second in the Yellow Ribbon. In her only other Hollywood Park start, she finished third in the 2007 Gamely.
"At the quarter pole, I didn't see any other horses coming up to keep me in the pocket, so I thought why wheel out right here?” Valdivia said. “I knew she would be there for me when I called on her. I'll tell you what, those two in front never quit running. My filly just ran them down and she really had to pick up the tempo to do it. I've always felt she was a Grade I caliber filly and she showed her class today. She's such a pleasure to ride. I'm going to miss her a lot, but at least she goes out a winner."
Vacare paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.40 while banking $90,000 to boost her earnings to $1,213,206. Gotta Have Her, ridden by Richard Migliore, paid $3.60 and $2.80, while the show payoff on In My Glory with Martin Garcia aboard was $5.40.
"She ran great,” Migliore said of the runner-up. “I thought we had it but the winner just ran a little better. I'm very proud of her. She deserves to win a graded stakes. I just hope she gets one soon.”
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