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Good Ba Ba Wins HK Mile Third Consecutive Time

By Tom Krish | 14 Dec 2009 |

Good Ba Ba

Joel Rosario is one of the better jockeys in Southern California. On Friday, December 11, jockey Rosario had seven rides at Hollywood Park. There was heavy rain in Los Angeles. Hollywood Park has what is called the ‘cushion track’. It was a wet Friday but it was a sunny day in Rosario’s life.

A 24 year-old Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) native, jockey Rosario won six races from seven mounts. He was second in the first race with his first ride. Rosario won races two through six. His mount in the seventh race was scratched. He won the eighth race. Rosario has 31 wins at the Hollywood Park meeting and is likely to be the champion rider.

Rosario’s winners included Pick To Click who returned $6.80. Yankee Romance came through as the 3/10 favourite. Madeline Key clicked and paid $6.40. A Clever Ten won and was the 17/10 favourite. Free Lunch obliged as the 6/10 public choice. Stockings won as the 7/10 favourite.

“This is the first time in my life I have won six. I won five before but now six and I am very happy. I feel great. Not so many jockeys do that, so I am very happy for this,” jockey Rosario exulted.

At Hollywood Park, here are some numbers posted by three well-known riders. Bill Shoemaker won six from eight rides in June 1953. In June 1970, Shoemaker won six races from seven rides. Laffitt Pincay, Jr won six from nine rides in April 1968. Kent Desormeaux won six times from 10 rides in July 1992.

On Wednesday, December 9, an International Jockeys’ Championship was held at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. There were three races in the series. Christophe Lemaire won the first race with Bobo Win. John Murtagh got home first in the second race with Master Dreamer. The third and final event went to the Ryan Moore-ridden Ming’s Hero. Chantal Sutherland from Canada and Joe Talamo from America competed in these three races.

Benny The Bull has been retired. The six year-old was the Eclipse Award-winning sprinter in 2008. The Lucky Lionel gelding raced four times in 2008 and won all those four starts. His most glittering win came in the Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba on Dubai World Cup Day in 2008. Richard Dutrow Jr trained Benny The Bull. Dutrow was in Florida on that day to see Big Brown win the Florida Derby. Benny The Bull won or placed 14 times in 20 starts for earnings of $2,353,430.

The Grade III Native Diver run at Hollywood Park on Saturday was special for two reasons. Lava Man, the multiple Grade I winner, was returning to the races after a long layoff. Mast Track, a horse once owned and trained by the late Bobby Frankel, was in the field. Lava Man was withdrawn and trainer Doug O’Neil cited the rain as the reason. Only five horses went postward in the 1800-metre race that carried a purse of $100,000.

Mast Track, Rafael Bejarano up, hit the front and stayed on to win by a length and a half. Mast Track’s last win was in the Hollywood Gold Cup in June 2008. The Native Diver was run in steady rain and the son of Mizzen Mast, now owned by the Stronach stables, set a steady pace and at no point, was in danger of defeat. A 31/10 chance, Mast Track ran the 1800 metres in 1 50.53 seconds. High Court Drama was second and Neko Bay, the 2-1 favourite, salvaged third.

Jockey Bejarano commented on his victory. “When he (Mast Track) is on the lead, he has got more heart. When I was able to make the lead, I was pretty comfortable. The last time I rode him, he was real close to the lead and he ran well.”

The other high profile race in America at week’s end was the Grade III $107,500 Queen’s County Handicap. The 1900-metre race was on Aqueduct’s inner track. Rodman, the four year-old son of Malibu Moon, made it all. Rodman clocked 1 57 on a fast track and was a 3-1 chance. Researcher, the 2008 Queen’s County winner, took the runner-up berth. Mike Hushion trains Rodman and Javier Castellano was aboard. The Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park is the next race for Rodman.

Jockey Castellano explained the ride. “I did not expect to be on the lead. He broke so clean and he felt like he wanted to go. I did not want to fight him. He made the lead easily. He enjoyed the trip and responded at the top of the stretch when I asked him.”

We will now switch our focus to what happened at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday. It was a 10-race card. There were four Group I races, all of them on the grass. Sha Tin is a right-handed course. It was an international cast of owners, trainers and jockeys. Neither of the racing channels in America carried the Hong Kong races.

I have gathered my information from racing websites and other sources. The 2400-metre Hong Kong Vase, worth 14,000,000 HK dollars, went to the Aga Khan-owned Daryakana. The winning margin was a short head over Spanish Moon, the favourite at 17/10. Daryakana was a 11-2 chance and was ridden by Gerard Mosse who replaced Christophe Lemaire. An infraction in Japan had cost Lemaire a day’s ban and it proved to be costly. Alain du Royer Dupre trains for the Aga Khan. Daryakana gave jockey Mosse his sixth winner in the Hong Kong International races. Daryakana, now five for five, ran the 2,400 metres in 2 27.51 seconds.

Kasbah Bliss took third. Youmzain, three-time runner-up in the Arc, was a strong fancy. He was too keen and raced disappointingly. Black Mamba, the American stakes-winning distaffer, ran 13th and last. Daryakana is by Selkirk out of Daryaba.

Daryakana raced in the rear and made her move in the stretch. She passed the entire field and caught Spanish Moon in the shadow of the post. It was the second win in Hong Kong for trainer Dupre who won the Hong Kong Cup in 2006 with Pride.

Trainer Dupre spoke. “It seems like I can only win with the fillies. For a three year-old, she travelled very well. When she won a Graded race at Longchamp, I started to think about this race. She will race as a four year-old.”

Jockey Gerard Mosse showered praise on Daryakana. “I had a lot of horse. The pace was OK. I knew she had a great turn of foot. I am a bit sad for Christophe (Lemaire) but that happens in racing. This filly has a heart bigger than herself. She’s among the best I have ridden.”

Ryan Moore was on Spanish Moon, a Michael Stoute trainee who was banned in Britain for poor gate behaviour. It was in France that Spanish Moon showed his true mettle. Moore was philosophical. “We just got mugged on the line,” he lamented.

The Hong Kong Sprint, a 1200-metre contest, had a purse of 12,000,000 HK dollars. It was a race in which the first four turned out to be Hong Kong-based runners. Sacred Kingdom won the Sprint in 2007. The Ricky Yiu-trained speedball found his best stride to get his second win in the Sprint. Jockey Brett Pebble had Sacred Kingdom fifth and sixth in the 14-horse field and took the lead entering the homestretch and held One World to win by one half length. The time was 1 09.16 second. Encosta Delago is Sacred Kingdom’s sire. The dam is Courtroom Sweetie. Sacred Kingdom paid 25.50 on a 10 (unit) ticket.

It was the third win in the Sprint for trainer Ricky Yiu. Fairy King Prawn won it for Yiu in 1999. Sacred Kingdom made it three.

Scenic Blast was attempting to win the million-dollar bonus for winning three legs of the Global Sprint Challenge. Scenic Blast bled.

Jockey Pebble spoke about his journey. “I had a lovely run in midfield but I did not want to get there too quickly. When I was coming off their backs at the top of the straight, I had to count to 10 before pressing the button because he’s getting smarter as he gets older. He nearly pulled up on me there in the end.”

Trainer Ricky Yiu had a matter-of-fact statement. “He (Sacred Kingdom) was in good condition. We needed the luck in the running and Brett did a brilliant job. To win this race for the third time is a real thrill too.”

Next came the Hong Kong Mile. Hong Kong-based Good Ba Ba made it a hat trick. In 2007, Olivier Doleuze rode. Christophe Soumillon was aboard in 2008. On Sunday, it was Olivier Doleuze again.

The Mile had a purse of 16,000,000 HK dollars. Good Ba Ba won by one half length in 1 34.6 seconds. Happy Zaro was second. Good Ba Ba is by Lear Fan out of Elle Meme. The payoff was 36.50 on a 10-dollar bet.

Good Ba Ba was 12th in the 14-runner field. Given his head, the seven year-old put in a burst of speed in the lane that had to be seen to be believed.

Jockey Doleuze was thrilled. “I was sorry to lose the ride last year, so to be back on is a dream. His preparation was similar to last year when Andreas Schultz trained him. What a horse!”

Andrea Schultz was in charge of Good Ba Ba until early in 2009. Derek Cruz took over this year. Cruz was laconic. “Without a doubt, it’s awesome. It is the highlight of my career.”

I had a red-gold tie (cravat in French) on French Derby day at Chantilly in June 2008. Vision d’Etat, Ioritz Mendizabal up, won the Prix du Jockey Club, the French appellation for the Derby. Vision d’Etat’s owner’s colours were red-gold. The owner, at the press conference, made mention of the coincidence.

In June 2009, I had the same tie and Vision d’Etat was in the Prince of Wales line-up. The Eric Libaud trainee beat Tartan Bearer in the Group I race. Olivier Peslier was the jockey.

If I had been at Sha Tin on Sunday, I would have been wearing the by now famous red-gold tie. What is the reason? Vision d’Etat was a runner in the 10-horse field going postward in the 20,000,000 HK dollar Hong Kong Cup.

Jockey Peslier had Vision d’Etat in sixth and moved halfway down the lane. Vision d’Etat proved the fastest to win by three parts of a length over Collection, the local fancy. The 2000-metre race was run in 2 01.86 seconds. Vision d’Etat is by Chichicastenango out of Uberaba. The payoff was 70.50 on a 10-unit wager.

It was the second win in Hong Kong for trainer Eric Libaud. He won the Vase in 2002 with Ange Gabriel. On December 12, Vision d’Etat had bumped against the stall. The injury had caused temporary lameness. Serious thought was being given to scratching the French runner. Trainer Libaud did not give up. He took the four year-old for exercise on the all weather surface on the morning of the race. Satisfying himself that his trainee was fit enough to race. Libaud took the plunge. He confirmed that Vision d’Etat will stay in training in 2010 and a race in Dubai is a viable option.

Jockey Peslier’s win on Vision d’Etat gave him his seventh victory in the Hong Kong series. Gerard Mosse has six. Peslier, a delight to watch, is a great friend to have. Unfailing courtesy is Peslier’s hallmark. It was on Saturday that I had mailed a Christmas card to the Peslier family. He spoke: “It is always a good sign when the horse is lazy during his races as he was today. He was similar when winning at Royal Ascot. I did not want to get to the lead too soon because I was worried he might stop in front. He kept fighting today.”

This story is being typed late in the evening on Monday in Chicago. It is 10 PM. We are ready for our trip to India. We leave Tuesday and our departure time is 3 40 PM. We arrive in Chennai late in the evening on Wednesday (spilling over into the wee hours of Thursday) and we fly out of Frankfurt. I am looking forward to seeing many of you. I made several friends in 2007 and 2008.