DEL MAR, Calif. — The historic colors of Darby Dan Farm never had graced Del Mar until Friday, but they sure looked right at home in a familiar spot, a winner’s circle, after Manitoulin held off favored Chicago Style to capture the Grade 2, $200,690 Hollywood Turf Cup.
Those brown-colored silks, adorned over the years by the likes of Roberto, Graustark, Little Current, Proud Truth, and Kentucky Derby winners Chateaugay and Proud Clarion – and many, many more – were on the person of Mike Smith, who put Manitoulin ($10.40) in a forward position early in the 1 1/2-mile race, and that proved pivotal, as Chicago Style’s late rush came up a neck short.
It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Flamboyant, then came Tequila Joe, Lottie, Prince of Arabia, and Inordinate, who was pulled up on the clubhouse turn while galloping back after the race and was vanned from the track. Stewards, relaying word from the track veterinarian, reported he had an injury to his left front leg.
Infobedad and Prime Attraction were scratched, leaving a field of seven.
Manitoulin was second during the early going behind Tequila Joe, and attended a pace that slowed to a crawl midway through the race, with six furlongs in 1:17.08 and a mile in 1:43. They came home quickly, with a final quarter in less than 23 seconds. Manitoulin completed 12 furlongs on firm ground in 2:30.16.
“Mike put him more into the race, which was more of his style earlier this year,” said Tiffany Webb, the assistant who was here to handle chores for her boss, trainer Jimmy Toner.
Webb said the Hollywood Turf Cup was chosen over the Red Smith at Aqueduct because it gave Manitoulin more time after the Grade 3 Sycamore at Keeneland on Oct. 19, in which he finished seventh after racing wide.
“This was the last stakes of the year at a marathon distance,” she said.
Manitoulin, 4, is a homebred gelding by Awesome Again out of the great mare Soaring Softly, best known for winning the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in 1999. He was bred by Phillips Racing, and since he was not sold as a youngster and ended up racing for the Phillips family, he was outfitted in the family’s Darby Dan silks as opposed to the green and white silks that adorn the family’s female runners.
“He’s the only one who runs in the Darby Dan silks,” Webb said, noting only the family’s males run in the Darby Dan colors, and the rest of the males ended up sold.
The Turf Cup victory was the first stakes win for Manitoulin, who has now won five times in 17 starts. He earned $120,000 to bring his career earnings to just shy of $400,000. He is 4 for 7 since being gelded before his first start this year.