Offered for a $25,000 claiming price less than two months after being taken for $62,500 at Santa Anita, the 5-year-old Redattore gelding ran past pacesetter Thunder of Zion in the final sixteenth of a mile.
The win was the sixth in 14 starts for the chestnut, who is out of the Flying Continental mare Air Defense, and increased his earnings to $204,752. Ridden by Joel Rosario, Red Defense covered the six furlongs on turf in 1:08.93 while winning by 1 ½ lengths.
The victory was the first in three starts since Red Defense was claimed April 22. He had finished fifth in the Tiznow Stakes over Cushion Track April 28 before a fifth in a $50,000 claimer at one mile on turf May 19.
Nofty, who rallied inside the winner, gained second, his third on the board finish in five tries over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass. The 5-year-old gelding returned $4.60 and $3.60 as the 7-2 third choice.
Making his first start since being claimed for $16,000 by trainer and co-owner Bill Spawr March 11, Thunder of Zion set a rapid pace (22.25 and 44.97 for the half-mile), had a clear lead early in the stretch, but then weakened late. The show price on Thunder of Zion, who finished one length behind Nofty, was $6.80.
Two races later, 13-10 favorite Starlight Magic earned her first win over a synthetic surface, defeating Last Sting and four others.
A 3-year-old Marino Marini filly owned by Cory Wagner and trained by Mark Glatt, Starlight Magic won for the third time in seven races . Her biggest victory came in the California Cup Juvenile Fillies last Oct. 29 at Santa Anita. She was ridden Thursday by Rafael Bejarano and paid $4.60, $2.60 and $2.10. The margin of victory was 1 ¾ lengths.
Third behind Willa B Awesome and Starry Skies in the Melair Stakes April 28 in her Betfair Hollywood Park debut, Starlight Magic covered the 1 1/16 miles in the $64,070 allowance in 1:44.67. She has earned $209,900.
Last Sting returned $3.60 and $2.10 while the show price on Endless Fancy was $2.20.
The win aboard Starlight Magic was the 31st of the Spring/Summer meet for Bejarano, who leads Joe Talamo by six victories after 26 days. Talamo had three wins Thursday.
Racing resumes Friday. Post time is 7:05 p.m.
At the conclusion of the eight race card, a concert starring The Wailers will begin at the North Park. Approximate start time is 10:30 p.m. General admission is $10 - $20 after 8:30 p.m.