Horse Racing

Planetario Has Stamina for Hollywood Turf Cup

Stamina held up in the 1 1/2-mile Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (G2T) at Del Mar, as Planetario , whose last victory came at about 1 3/4 miles in the June 18 San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G3T), defeated six other turf runners. Jockey Hector Berrios contributed to the triumph by skillfully finding his way between horses in the stretch, resulting in a neck victory.

It was a truly international finish, as the only three foreign-bred runners in the field, coming from different parts of the world, finished one-two-three. Planetario, bred in Brazil, has been based in Southern California for the past two years with trainer Richard Mandella. Second-place Francesco Clemente  was bred in Ireland and shipped in from New York-based trainer Chad Brown’s operation. And third-place Lukka  is a Chilean-bred making his first start in this country.

Balladeer , coming off an unplaced effort in the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) but winner of the 1 1/4-mile the John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (G2T) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 1, was the likely pacesetter. Bettors made Francesco Clemente the 7-5 favorite over Balladeer at 3-1 and sent Planetario off as the 5-1 fourth choice.

As expected, Balladeer went to the front, with the others letting him set a decidedly moderate pace of :49 for the first half-mile and 1:14.07 for six furlongs. Francesco Clemente got away the slowest of the field, trailing early, while Planetario raced easily in sixth for the first half-mile.

“I wanted to run behind, where he is more relaxed,” Berrios said.

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Berrios moved Planetario closer as the field headed into the final turn. Into the stretch, Berrios spied a gap between Balladeer on the rail and Lukka, and when he asked, Planetario beat longshot Eastern Ocean  to the opening. 

“A little space opened, and my horse, he responded,” Berrios said.

With Francesco Clemente closing on the outside, the three foreign-bred runners vied for the wire. Planetario defeated Francesco Clemente by a neck in 2:28.02, with Lukka another nose back in third.

“A great ride by Berrios,” said Mandella. “He didn’t lose an inch of ground hardly. He just slipped through and rode him with a lot of confidence. Can’t say enough about him.”

Mandella was winning his fourth edition of the Turf Cup. He previously won it in 2006 with Boboman , 1999 with Lazy Lode, and 1982 with The Hague , when the race was split into two divisions. All three of those came when the Turf Cup was contested at Hollywood Park.

Red Rafa Stud bred and owns Planetario, a 5-year-old son of Il Doge  out of the winning Crimson Tide mare Aerosfera . Planetario started eight times in his native country, winning his first two races at seven furlongs. In 2021, he won back-to-back group 1 races, the Linneo de Paula Machado (G1) at about 1 1/4 miles and Derby Paulista (G1) at about 1 1/2 miles, before coming to this country. 

In the U.S., Planetario has done best at longer distances. Prior to winning the marathon Capistrano, he finished second in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey Stakes (G3T). He has started exclusively on turf.

Video: Hollywood Turf Cup S. (G2T)


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