Brinkerhoff’s ‘Best Horse’ Restrainedvengence Chasing Graded Win In City Of Hope Mile

Restrainedvengence, the “best horse” Val Brinkerhoff has ever trained, comes back in Saturday’s Grade II City of Hope Mile on Santa Anita’s turf in just over two weeks from his last race, a game head victory as the 4-5 favorite in the $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque, New Mexico over a mile and an eighth on dirt Sept. 19. It was the richest race of the meet.

“The City of Hope is a short field and he came out of his race super-good, never lost any weight and never missed a meal,” said Brinkerhoff, a former jockey who rode at the bush tracks in the northwest before becoming one of the hardest-working horsemen in the game just over a dozen years ago.

Brinkerhoff, who turns 64 on Oct. 19, still gallops his own horses.

“I think getting the horse there took more out of him than the race itself,” said Val, whose wife and dedicated assistant, Kelly, and Bobby Grayson Jr. own the five-year-old gelded son of Hold Me Back, who has an 8-3-1 record from 25 starts with earnings of $625,222. He was second by a head in the City of Hope last year.

“I missed some training on him here but he ran good enough to win despite being bumped through the stretch. He should be fit now because I missed a bunch of time after I ran him at Golden Gate (in the Grade III San Francisco Mile June 14) because of a foot issue, then I missed time because of the smoke from the fires here, but he’s fine now.

“He’s won stakes on three different surfaces: Tapeta, dirt and turf, so he’s very versatile.” While he’s never won a graded stakes, the Kentucky-bred has competed in 12 straight added money races and earned Beyer speed figures of 100 or more in three of them.

The City of Hope, race eight of 10 with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Sharp Samurai, Juan Hernandez, 5-2; Restrainedvengence, Ruben Fuentes, 8-1; Majestic Eagle, Ricardo Gonzalez, 20-1; Royal Ship, Mike Smith, 4-1; Bob and Jackie, Heriberto Figueroa, 12-1; Blitzkrieg, Abel Cedillo, 4-1; and Mo Forza, Flavien Prat, 8-5.

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