Hollywood Talent and his 108/1 odds pulled off an Oscar-winning performance for bettors on Saturday, capturing the Grade 3 Turf Monster Stakes at Parx Racing for his first graded-stakes victory.
Hollywood Talent waited a long time for his first graded-stakes score, which came in his 52nd career race. The 10-year-old gelding finished third in this five-furlong sprint two years ago, his first in-the-money finish in a graded stakes since he finished third in the 2013 Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga. The previous month, Hollywood Talent finished second in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs.
On Saturday, Hollywood Talent pulled off the monster of all upsets in the Turf Monster. Seventh in the nine-horse field at the three-sixteenths post, jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. brought Hollywood Talent into third entering the stretch. Shortly thereafter, he rolled past leaders Admiral Abe and Firecrow, and pulled away for a 1 ¼-length victory over Beer Can Man. Admiral Abe held on for third.
This brought a monster payday to bettors holding Hollywood Talent atop their Turf Monster tickets. He paid $219.20, $55.40 and $19. A $2 exacta with Hollywood Talent and 4/1 Beer Can Man paid $1,029.60. The 50-cent trifecta with 27.50/1 Admiral Abe returned $2,586.45.
Hollywood Talent beat Bobby Flay
Your two 1.80/1 favorites, Carotari and Caravel — owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay — tied for sixth, 4 ¼ lengths behind.
“I am not surprised,” trainer Juan Vazquez told Parx Racing after the race. “I have been waiting for this race all year. He was third in the Monster (in 2019) and I knew I could win this race. There was a lot of speed in this race, and I sent [him] from behind and, really, felt very well. I liked it. I liked the soft ground.”
As you would expect from a hard-raced, 10-year-old gelding, Hollywood Talent has made the rounds. He’s 1-1-1 in five starts this year, with the $168,000 payday for his Turf Monster score accounting for 90% of his 2021 earnings. The son of Talent Search came in with only $18,342 in season earnings.
He was the favorite in his last victory
It also gave Hollywood Talent his first victory in 367 days, or since his Sept. 23, 2020 score in a Delaware Park claimer. There, he went off as the 1.40/1 favorite, scoring a 1 ¼-length victory.
For that, he got claimed for $8,000 by King Star Racing. And from there, he lost his next six races, hitting the board in three of them (0-1-2) – all starter allowances.
Now, Vazquez has Hollywood Talent pointed toward bigger game like a certain two-day, American marquee racing event held this year at Del Mar in November.
We have a proud — and ambitious — trainer here
“We might try the Breeders’ Cup (Turf Sprint). He is a 10-year-old and I try to take care of him the best that I can,” Vazquez said.
Hollywood Talent’s Turf Monster win gave him 12 victories in 52 starts. He’s banked earnings of $635,071.