The PRK (Grade 1)- $1,500.000 Purse
PIM- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and Three Sixteenths on the Dirt
May 18, 2019
Once again, the HRP Triple Crown Chase will head into the BEL without a horse having an opportunity to win the coveted distinction and bonus that comes along with it. It’s a story that has two sides. One, being the frustration that comes from having a horse that seemed to have a great shot like Beach Dandy come up short by virtue of having no where to run for most of the race. The other side is the jubilation that is felt by Nakamura Stables, the proud owner of PRK champion, Hollywood Latte. The colt by Peppermint Moon did not fare well in the KYD, placing 10th, but it looks more and more now like that was simply because he didn’t like the slop. It’s the second TC win for Nakamura Stables, who also won the 2017 KYD. Jockey J Talamo is a first time winner of the race. Congratulations to them! The time of the win was 1:54.80, one of the slower recent winning times of the PRK when run on a dry track, but all that was needed. Let’s take a look!
(½ Mile- :47.90)- Right from the starting gate, Bo Knows, part of Joshua Stables, jumps out to the early advantage. Not many were surprised by this. From the far outside, Not To Be Denied made a move to the front for D J C Racing Stables while Mr Cat Summers also broke well for First Street Stables. At a half mile, these three ran together, and there was a gap of about two lengths to the rest of the field. Here we saw the two Aer Stables entries, Ranger and Ardetha, running on the inside and outside of three wide, with Phooeys Queen Blue tucked in between them for Estero Farms. Then, things get a little interesting as we compare how the race set up early for the winner, Hollywood Latte, breaking from the 1 post, and the favorite, Beach Dandy, breaking from the 2 post. Hollywood Latte never relinquished the rail for Nakamura Stables, but most importantly, he never allowed Ranger to completely clear him to be able to move over in front of him. This put Beach Dandy, still running alongside him, to run behind Ranger, although J J Castellano seemed to be hoping something would open up between Ranger and Phooeys Queen Blue, and that never happened. He could not move to the outside any more, because Chrystal Believer was occupying that lane for Maxmillion Farm. Admiration, one of the rested horses, running for Mb Stables, was right behind Hollywood Latte. Rounding out the order, its Fear The Dragon (Mb Stables), Rainstorm (Fractious), Demon (Team 7 Illusions), and Questionable (Mb Stables). Note that Demon drew in from the also eligibles in lieu of a scratch of Red Cup.
(3/4 Mile- 1:11.73)- At the front, Mr Cat Summers has picked up the slight advantage at the end of the backstretch trip, with Bo Knows and Not To Be Denied still running beside him. Hollywood Latte moved up, and it was pretty important that he did so here, because it looked like Bo Knows was beginning to fall back. He passed Ranger quickly, allowing himself to have options in the turn if indeed Bo Knows did begin to drop, and would not be affected by Ranger’s drop in the same way that the favorite would be. Ranger lost some of his momentum, and this dropped him right into Beach Dandy. Because Castellano had been eyeing the lane between Ranger and Phooeys Queen Blue earlier, instead of looking to run between Hollywood Latte and Ranger, this meant that when Ranger lost some speed, Beach Dandy had no where to run. After all, both Phooeys Queen Blue and Ardetha were still running well, but not making an advance at this point, and Chrystal Believer was still maintaining his lane to his outside. At this point, you really had to feel that Beach Dandy was in serious trouble, because in addition to all this, the rested Admiration had the clear lane on the rail and was only half a length behind him. The other four had not yet made their presence felt.
(Top Of Stretch, 1.5F To Go)- Leading the way, First Class Stable had to be excited with how good Mr Cat Summers was looking here. He was the only one of the three frontrunners to survive the run around the turn and took a length and a half lead at the top of the stretch. The other two early runners dropped back. Hollywood Latte had now moved into the second position. At six furlongs, it was mentioned how his quick move around Ranger allowed him to have options for the turn, and that proved to be pivotal. Since Bo Knows did drop off the pace, Hollywood Latte had no problem moving a lane to his outside without breaking stride. Phooeys Queen Blue was also looking really good here, and was just to the outside of Hollywood Latte, making it look like these two would have a great run to the wire together. Phooeys Queen Blue’s advance should have been good for Beach Dandy, right? After all, Beach Dandy was committed to running behind him most of the way. Unfortunately for Joshua Stables, there became another obstacle, and that would be Not To Be Denied, one of the other early frontrunners. The lane that Beach Dandy would have flown on through now was occupied, and Beach Dandy’s ability to showcase his stretch kick would be delayed. Once he was clear of Not To Be Denied, he would have a chance, but the wire was quickly approaching now. Chrystal Believer was maintaining a steady stride and looked to be a threat in the stretch. He did not have to worry about anyone blocking his lane. Meanwhile, Admiration still had the lane on the rail, and was fortunate not to have any of those who were dropping back get in his way. At this point, I thought he was in great position, given he had been rested. Further back, Fear The Dragon was looking for room to run, but none of the others at the back were advancing with much ambition.
(Finish- 1:54.80)- Mr Cat Summers continues to lead midway through the stretch, and Hollywood Latte moves to his outside to look to complete this pass. There are others looking to do the same thing, as both Phooeys Queen Blue was there, and Chrystal Believer was showing his own stretch kick that has made him one of the favorites in the TC Chase. Admiration continued to advance on the rail, and Beach Dandy was doing all that he could. With half a furlong to go, any of these six could have had a shot. Fear The Dragon had made a fantastic late bid to get near these, and if the race was just a little longer, perhaps the race was his. At the wire, a fantastic finish, and the stretch desire of Hollywood Latte would get it done in a tight photo finish, getting the second career TC win for Nakamura Stables. Admiration take second in the photo, just ahead of Mr Cat Summers and fourth place Phooeys Queen Blue. Beach Dandy did all he could in the stretch, but the trip completely did him in. He is fifth here, but there is no reason to think he cannot bounce back effectively in his next start. Chrystal Believer and Fear The Dragon are the next two, and all seven of them should be at least content with how their horses run. The rest of the field was not a factor at the end. The final running order reads: Ardetha, Demon, Questionable, Rainstorm, Bo Knows, Not To Denied, and Ranger.
About The Winner- Hollywood Latte, trained by Nakamura Stables and ridden to victory by J Talamo, is a three year old colt by Peppermint Moon, and is out of Tequila Mockingbird. He was bred in Louisiana by Allinthegate as a second quarter two year old, and acquired by the trainer in the June 2018 auction for $30.010. (The same auction that saw Beach Dandy get acquired, so keep that in mind next month). Congratulations to the connections! The win is his fourth in seven starts, and his second stake win. His career earnings are now $1,544.040.
Time: :474 1:113 1:354 1:544
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 1 – 7 Paid 96.40
$1 Trifecta: 1 – 7 – 10 Paid 1,869.10
Scratched: Hymnal, Zero Annuity, Red Cup, Scarlet Ninja
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES, TC 2019, THE TRIPLE CROWN