New York invader Hollywood Handsome had never been beaten on the grass and his chance to maintain that record improved dramatically yesterday when Awad was scratched from the $111,150 Governor's Cup at Pimlico Race Course.
Hollywood Handsome is still a perfect turf horse.
After overcoming some early trouble, advancing steadily and finishing strongly under Herb McCauley, Hollywood Handsome passed Dancing Douglas in the final few strides for a half-length victory.
The 3-year-old gelding completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 55 2/5 seconds over a course rated yielding after it had absorbed some heavy rain showers.
"He seemed to handle the turf OK," said McCauley of his horse. "We were rolling along in the stretch and I knew we could get past the other horse [Dancing Douglas]."
The local riders weren't as satisfied with the surface, which was getting muckier by the moment.
E9 "It's deep out there," said Andrea Seefeldt, who rode
second-choice Dancing Douglas. "Rough. When you have to use a second pair of goggles, you know it's bad. My horse handled the stuff OK, but the winner really did."
Edgar Prado, the track's top jockey who won four other races yesterday, seconded Seefeldt's sentiments.
"It was deep all over," said Prado. "My horse [Caveat's Image -- an early front-runner who faded to finish sixth] couldn't keep in front when those others came at him."
Hollywood Handsome, a gelded son of Groovy, is now 5-for-9 this year. He inherited the favorite's role when trainer David Donk bypassed the race with Awad, a stablemate of Caveat's Image who will run on the Maryland Million card instead.
The winner of the Grade I Secretariat Stakes at Arlington last month is being pointed toward the prestigious Rothmans International in Canada.
Jacody takes Cotillion Handicap
The Bill Donovan-trained Jacody zoomed away from five rivals in the final half mile and easily won the $150,000-added, Grade II Cotillion Handicap at Philadelphia Park yesterday.
It was the fourth stakes victory for the 3-year-old daughter of Lost Code, who was running on Lasix again after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga, where the medication is banned.
A 4-5 favorite at Pimlico -- where the race was simulcast -- Jacody breezed by seven lengths under Donovan's regular rider, Tommy Turner.
Donovan said Jacody "had a virus and really wasn't herself" before the Alabama.
Among her victims yesterday was Aztec Hill, winner of the Black Eyed Susan Stakes here the day before the Preakness. The Loblolly Stable filly rallied to be a well-beaten second in the Cotillion.
Maryland Jockey Club president Joe De Francis said yesterday the news conference regarding his application for a Virginia racetrack will be held at the Commonwealth Park Suite Hotel in Richmond on Friday at 3 p.m. . . . One Tuff Oop recorded the fastest six-furlong time of the meet (1:09 4/5) in yesterday's ninth race. He was one of three winners on the card for trainer Dale Capuano. One Tuff Oop is expected to run in the Million Sprint Handicap. . . . Today's feature, the $50,000 Sensational Stakes on the turf, has drawn Logan's Mist and Palace Revolt. Mike Luzzi will ride Maryland-based Green Darlin in the co-feature, the simulcast of the Grade II, $175,000 Turfway Budweiser Breeders' Cup.