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Published on Nov 19, 2011
Making his Grade I debut, Sanagas was dominant in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Giving jockey Rajiv Maragh his first local stakes victory, Sanagas, a 5-year-old German bred, continued a mini-roll of Grade I success on this coast for Eastern-based trainer Graham Motion.
The conditioner of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Motion has won three significant events in Southern California in a span of 12 months.
Before Sanagas' win Saturday, Motion had taken the 2010 Matriarch last November at Hollywood Park with Gypsy's Warning and the 2011 Del Mar Oaks in August with Summer Soiree.
The 8-5 favorite against six opponents in the 29th Turf Cup, Sanagas tracked the slow pace set by Miss Match for most of the way, took command with a quick burst with about a half mile to run and went on to win by 3 ¼ lengths.
Owned by Andreas Jacobs, the Lomitas gelding out of the Marju mare Scota covered the 1 ½ miles in 2:27.53. He's won seven of 10 and earned $282,282.
The win was the second in a row and third in five United States outings. His earlier wins in this country had come in the restricted John's Call Aug. 5 at Saratoga and the Grade III Sycamore Oct. 20 at Keeneland.
A regular in New York, Maragh, 26, had come close in the past to Grade I bliss at Hollywood Park.
Maragh collaborated with Forever Together to be second behind the ill-fated Tuscan Evening in the 2010 Gamely, then was runner-up to the aforementioned Gypsy's Warning in the Matriarch six months later when aboard Wasted Tears.
A winner of four of five in his native country, Sanagas paid $5.20, $3.20 and $2.60.
"It was pretty straightforward,'' said Maragh. "My horse got into a nice flow right away and was just pulling me around the race track. "I was always in a good position without having to ask him. He made my job very easy. (Ashtar) moved on my outside and that kind of triggered him to go. It was a little earlier than I wanted initially, but he really wanted to go and I didn't want to dishearten him.
"He always runs big and we've always had high hopes for him.''
Assistant trainer Alice Clapham indicated Sanagas will return to Motion's Fair Hill Training Center Nov. 27. "He moved a little early today, but Rajiv said he dragged him to the lead,'' said Clapham. "It worked out great.''