Manitoulin Soars To Hollywood Turf Cup Victory At Del Mar

Manitoulin, an Awesome Again gelding out of the champion turf mare Soaring Softly, scored his first career stakes victory at Del Mar on Friday with a front-running win under Mike Smith in the Grade 2, $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup. Bred in Kentucky by Phillips Racing Partnership and carrying the tan and brown colors of Darby Dan Farm Racing, Manitoulin won by a diminishing neck over Glen Hill Farms’ 7-5 favorite Chicago Style, with French-bred Flamboyant third and Tequila Joe fourth in the field of seven older runners. The winner was conditioned by longtime Darby Dan Farm trainer James Toner. Toner also trained Soaring Softy, a multiple graded stakes-winning daughter of Kris S. who won the Eclipse Award as champion grass female in 1999.

Time for the mile and one-half on firm turf was 2:30.16. Third choice in the wagering, Manitoulin paid $10.40 to win. He carried 120 pounds, four pounds fewer than Flamboyant, the starting high weight.

Smith, following the suggestion of Toner, put Manitoulin into the race early, running to the outside of pacesetter Tequila Joe for most of the Turf Cup. The two galloped along in slow fractions of :25.30, :51.36, 1:17.08 and 1:43.00 for the opening mile. Chicago Style, under Drayden Van Dyke saved ground while several lengths behind the pacesetters but had nowhere to go approaching the far turn. He swung six wide into the stretch, but by then Manitoulin had taken over the lead from Tequila Joe and built what turned into an insurmountable lead. Chicago Style closed with a rush but was too late.

Manitoulin, a 4-year-old who came into the Turf Cup with four wins in 16 starts, finished off the board in his only previous graded stakes tries: in the G3 Arlington Handicap in July and the G3 Sycamore at Keeneland in October. He was gelded after winning only one of 10 starts as a 2- and 3-year-old.

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