Qatar Racing's True Valour emerged victorious in a five-horse blanket finish at the wire of Saturday's Grade 2 City of Hope Mile Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., rallying from off the pace under Drayden Van Dyke to win by a head. The Irish-bred by Kodiac (GB) is trained by Simon Callaghan.
The win was one of three on the day for Drayden Van Dyke, who is just returning from an injury suffered at Del Mar.
True Valour was up in the final yards to edge Restrainedvengence by a head, with 5-2 favorite Prince Earl a nose back in third. Kingly was a head back in fourth, with Big Score another neck back in fifth in the field of 11.
True Valour paid $35.80 to win.
The winner covered one mile on firm turf in 1:32.82. Kingly set all the fractions under Mario Gutierrez, going the opening quarter mile in :22.58, the half in :45.50, six furlongs in 1:09.04 and seven furlongs in 1:20.82. True Valour raced in fifth, saving ground much of the way, then swung out at the top of the stretch and powered his way to victory.
“Simon told me to keep him covered up, that's the main thing,” said Van Dyke. “If he sees daylight, he gets aggressive, which he was early. From there, I just tried to find a path and someone to follow.”
True Valour last raced Feb. 9, winning the G3 Thunder Road at Santa Anita, his first U.S. victory in four starts after coming to the U.S. from Europe , where he was a Group 3 winner in Ireland.
“He had some time off after the Thunder Road stakes (Feb. 9) due to some minor bone bruising and we wanted to give him some time off,” said Callaghan. “We felt we had him really fit today. He was pretty fresh early, he pulled Drayden early, gave him a perfect ride, he sprinted quick to the front and it worked out well. He needs to play his cards where they lay and Drayden certainly did that.
“Qatar (Racing Limited) may want to go for the Breeders' Cup Mile, it's here and he's shown a pretty good affinity for the track as far as his last two races, it will be tougher but they might want to take a shot.”
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