The 10-year-old gelding spotted the pace duel between Firecrow and Admiral Abe, both who sprinted away within the first quarter of a mile through fractions of :22 4/5 and :46 2/5.
Ricardo Santana Jr. then guided Hollywood Talent around the far turn before making a charge in the last eighth of a mile to win by 1¼ lengths over Beer Can Man and covered the 5 furlongs in 59 seconds while paying $219.20 to win.
Admiral Abe dueled outside, led to final sixteenth and continued gamely finishing third. Firecrow vied along the inside while weakening in the final furlong to finish fourth. Eased back after the start, Battle Station showed some late energy while Carotari steadied between rivals near the three eighths pole and faded. Caravel, West Fork and Amblin Man complete the order of finish.
“The track was soft today, and he was travelling really good,” Santana Jr. said. “He was travelling beautiful, and I was really happy with him, when we turned for home and when I asked him the horse really responded well.”
Jockey Ricardo Santana gives a celebratory gesture after he and Hollywood Talent win the $300,000 Grade III Turf Monster. Photo By Joe Labozzetta/EQUI-PHOTO
Two years ago, Hollywood Talent finished third to at 44-1 to favorite Pure Sensation in the Turf Monster. Since then, Juan Vasquez claimed Hollywood Talent for $8,000 at Delaware Park on Sept. 23, 2020, which was also the last time the gelding had won a race.
“I am not surprised,” Vasquez said about the outcome. “I have been waiting for this race all year. He was third in the Monster (in 2019) and I knew I could win this race. There was a lot of speed in this race, and I sent from behind and, really, felt very well. I liked it. I liked the soft ground.”
With the victory, Vasquez is considering the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
“I am very happy,” Vasquez said. “We might try the Breeders’ Cup (Turf Sprint). He is a 10-year-old and I try to take care of him the best that I can”
Edited Press Release
Photo: Hollywood Talent #11 with Ricardo Santana winning the $300,000 Grade III Turf. Photo By Bill Denver /EQUI-PHOTO