Maltese Falcon Jumps From Maiden To Graded Stakes Winner In La Jolla - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Maltese Falcon Jumps From Maiden To Graded Stakes Winner In La Jolla

Maltese Falcon and jockey Juan Hernandez winning the La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar

For the second day in a row, riding one race on the card was all leading rider Juan Hernandez needed to find his way to the winner's circle again at Del Mar.

Sunday he slipped through on the fence to guide the maiden Maltese Falcon, owned by Red Baron Barn  or Rancho Temescal, to a one-length tally in the 82nd edition of the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

The day before he pulled off a similar one-length score on Adare Manor in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes on the main track with his only mount of the afternoon.

The rider had been set down for three days for a previous riding infraction and was only allowed to ride in designated races this weekend. He made his two efforts pay off in spades with his double stakes victories. He now has won 15 races through the first 11 days of the meet and once more sits atop the riders' standings.

His Sunday tally on the Irish-bred gelding by Caravaggio saw him earn the winner's share of $90,000 from the $151,500 purse of the La Jolla. The winnings pushed Maltese Falcon's total earnings to $135,948 and gave him a record of one win, two seconds and two thirds in seven lifetime starts. He is trained by Leonard Powell.

Maltese Falcon was a lukewarm favorite in the 1 1/16-mile headliner and returned $8.40 to his backers.

Finishing second in the La Jolla was Hronis Racing's Panic Alarm, who had a nose on Muir Hut Stables' Agency.

Repole Stable's Pushiness and jockey Umberto Rispoli winning the CTBA Stakes

Earlier on the card, Repole Stable's Pushiness simply outfooted six rivals in the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Stakes, scoring by 1 3/4 lengths after leading all the way under rider Umberto Rispoli.

The 2-year-old California-bred filly stakes carried a purse of $125,500 and rewarded the winner with $71,250, meaning Pushiness, a daughter of Kantharos, now has earnings of $107,850 after two wins in two starts.

The quick bay is trained by Michael McCarthy.

Finishing second in the CTBA was Mr.-Mrs. Larry Williams' Grand Slam Smile, who had two and a half lengths on Brown or Thabit's Crazy Hot.

Pushiness, a stout favorite at 3-5, returned $3.20 to her pari-mutuel fans.

Racing will resume at Del Mar on Thursday with a first post of 2 p.m.

JUAN HERNANDEZ (Maltese Falcon, winner) – “(Trainer) Leonard Powell told me this horse has a really good kick at the end. I was really patient with him. My horse he wanted to run around the three-eighths (pole), but I didn't have space to come through, so I decided to stay the longest I can. Finally around the eighth pole I got lucky because the rail opened for me. He was really brave today. He responded to me.”

LEONARD POWELL (Maltese Falcon, winner) – “I didn't give any special instructions to Juan. He's a top class jockey and he watched the videos. I just gave him a few facts about the horse and after that it was all Juan. He put him in a good spot in the pocket and the main thing is that he waited for the opening. And the other main factor is the opening did happen and the horse was good enough.”

FRACTIONS:  :23.60 :48.82  1:14.50  1:38.53  1:44.20

The stakes win was third of the meet for rider Hernandez and the second of the session for trainer Powell.

The stakes win was first in the La Jolla for Hernandez, but his 36th overall at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the first in the La Jolla for Powell, but his 10th overall at Del Mar.

The winning owners are Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal.

CTBA Quotes

UMBERTO RISPOLI (Pushiness (winner) – “She's fast; this filly is really fast. She went away from there very quick and I took a little hold of her. But she kept going fast. When we went into the turn, I saw her ears go up, so I knew she was relaxed. These young ones usually want to wait on other horses, but she was a runner all the way. I think she's go farther, too. I'm glad I won it for another Italian (referring to Mike Repole of New York, who races under Repole Stable and owns Pushiness).”

FELIPE RIVERA (Assistant trainer for Michael McCarthy on Pushiness, winner) – “She ran the same way she did at Santa Anita. You break out of the gate and go. She has such nice speed and she was just cruising. No, we don't know (where she will go next). Let's see how she comes out of the race. We'll evaluate and go from there.”  (Trainer McCarthy was in Kentucky.)

FRACTIONS:  :22.00  :45.25  :57.69  1:04.75

This was the third stakes win of the meet for rider Rispoli, but the first for trainer McCarthy.

The stakes win was the first in the CTBA for the jockey, but his 21st overall at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the first in the CTBA for the trainer, but his sixth overall at Del Mar.

The winning owner is Repole Stable of Mike Repole of New York.

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