Ending a streak of five consecutive runner-up finishes, Clubhouse Ride won the Grade 2 Californian Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Positioned closest to an early duel between Batti Man and Blueskiesnrainbows by jockey Garrett Gomez, Clubhouse Ride took over midway around the turn, drew clear and wasn’t seriously challenged by favored Liaison in the final eighth of a mile. The margin of victory was 2 ¼ lengths.
Owned by Six-S Racing Stable and Nikolas Petralia and trained by Craig Lewis, the 5-year-old son of Candy Ride and the Seeking the Gold mare Seeking Results won for the fourth time in 28 starts. He increased his bankroll to $959,620 with his first graded success.
Beaten only a half-length by 2012 Californian and Hollywood Gold Cup winner Game On Dude in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 20 in West Virginia after chasing that one previously in the San Antonio Stakes and Santa Anita Handicap, Clubhouse Ride completed the 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track in 1:51.02.
In providing Gomez with his first Californian win since Skimming in 2001, Clubhouse Ride, who was bred in Kentucky by Sid and Jenny Craig, was the 3-1 second choice in the wagering.
“I was hoping lightning would strike twice,’’ said Lewis after his first stakes win at Hollywood Park since Valentine Dancer won the 2005 Fran’s Valentine. “I won this race with Cutlass Reality (in 1988).
“This horse has a lot of similarities to him. We’re looking forward to the rematch (with Game On Dude) in the ($500,000, Grade I Hollywood) Gold Cup (July 6).’’
Gomez, who rode Clubhouse Ride for the first time in the Charles Town Classic, thinks a trip to the winner’s circle – the first for the chestnut since an optional claiming win on the Santa Anita turf last Oct. 25 – could be beneficial.
“He’s been running against a real quality horse, so it’s nice to get a win with him,’’ said Gomez. “This might even help his confidence level a bit and make him a better horse.’’