The Walther Solis-trained gelding nonchalantly turned back a challenge from previously unbeaten Canonize nearing the eighth pole and easily held late-running Bet On Victor at bay in the final sixteenth.
“I told Walter last time he ran that I guarantee we’ll win a big race with him soon,” added Solis, who rode two winners Sunday. “He broke real sharp and got into good position. He was in a high cruising speed the whole race and put them away in the stretch.”
Charlie’s Moment, the fourth choice at 6-1 in the field of seven 3-year-olds in the Grade III event, was timed in 1:21.89 while paying $15, $6.60 and $3.40. Bet On Victor returned $5.60 and $2.60, while the show payoff on odds-on favorite Canonize was $2.10.
Charlie’s Moment, a $17,000 yearling purchase, won for the fourth time in 12 starts for a partnership including Walther Solis, Robert Gramer, David Pycz, Michael Nicolarsen and Jerry Rasky. The winner’s share of $60,000 boosted his earnings to $231,760.
“I got surprised when he took the lead,” Walther Solis said. “I was hoping the seven-horse (Backbackbackgone) would go to the lead. We wanted to take care of the speed. I guess he was eager to run today.”
Garrett Gomez, the jockey on Bet On Victor, did not dispute that.
“He ran a real good race today,” Gomez said of his mount. “I thought when I came off the turn I had a chance to run him down, but the leader never came back.”
Canonize, winner of his two previous starts, got through on the rail on the turn for home, but was not a threat in the stretch.
”We had a great trip,” jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. said. “He was behind the winner and saved all the ground. Usually when we turn for home, he switches leads and gives me a nice kick. Today it just wasn’t there.”
One race prior to the Barrera, Monterey Jazz set a course record of 1:32.59 for one mile with a front-running victory under Tyler Baze on the Lakeside Turf Course. The 5-year-old carried 120 pounds while breaking the mark of 1:32.64 set by Megan’s Interco in 1994.
The upset by Charlie’s Moment helped set up a Pick Six carryover of $109,818 when racing continues at Hollywood Park with a special program on Memorial Day. The highlight is the 66th running of the $250,000-added Shoemaker Mile.
Ventura, attempting to become the third female winner of the Grade I Shoemaker, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the well-matched field of eight. The Shoemaker will go as the ninth race on the ten-race program. Post time is 1 p.m.
ALEX SOLIS, CHARLIE'S MOMENT, Winner: “I think people will start respecting this horse more after today’s race. Coming into this race I’d been working him and he’s been working incredible. I told Walter (Solis) last time he ran that I guarantee we’ll win a big race with him soon. He broke real sharp and got into good position. He was in a high cruising speed the whole race and put them away in the stretch.”
GARRETT GOMEZ, BET ON VICTOR, Second: “This horse is quick, but not real fast. He doesn’t have a big, huge turn of foot, he just kind of stays. He ran a real good race today. I thought when I came off the turn I had a chance to run him down, but the leader never came back.”
JOSE VALDIVIA, CANONIZE, Third: “We had a great trip. He was behind the winner and saved all the ground. Usually when we turn for home he switches leads and gives me a nice kick. Today it just wasn’t there.”
WALTHER SOLIS, CHARLIE’S MOMENT, Winner: “I got surprised when he took the lead. I was hoping the seven-horse (Backbackbackgone) would go to the lead. We wanted to take care of the speed. I guess he was eager to run today. He just took off and took the lead. Alex (Solis) has been working this horse the last couple times and got to know him better than the first time he rode him in the La Puente. Our plan is to go two turns.”
NOTE: Walther Solis said the Affirmed Stakes is a possibility for Charlie’s Moment.