Maltese Falcon Spies Graded Prize In La Jolla Win

Maltese Falcon | Benoit


A six-start maiden, Maltese Falcon (Ire) (Caravaggio) was nevertheless dispatched as the public's choice for Sunday's GIII La Jolla H. and duly obliged with a perfect-trip graduation.

Neatly drawn in stall three in a field of eight in this final prep for the GII Del Mar Derby, the 105,000gns Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training purchase found a good spot at the fence right on the back of a sedate tempo set jointly by Agency (Bolt d'Oro) and Justin's Legacy (Justify). Juan Hernandez was content to allow Maltese Falcon to bide his time on the leaders' tails and opted to ride his mount for luck, hoping that a rails run would materialize. That roll of the dice ultimately paid off, as Maltese Falcon slipped through underneath the pace-advantaged Agency at midstretch and went on to prevail. Former Jessica Harrington trainee Panic Alarm (Ire) (Kuroshio {Aus}) was conversely done no favors by the lack of speed and kicked hard to be second in a solid U.S. debut for the Hronis Racing team.

Maltese Falcon was second in a Redcar novice over seven furlongs last Oct. 1 for trainer Rebecca Menzies and found himself at Tattersalls three weeks hence for the Autumn Horses In Training Sale, where he was the least costly of three purchases by Jed Cohen's Red Baron's Barn and son Tim Cohen's Rancho Temescal. The team also paid a sales-topping 850,000gns for I'm A Gambler (Ire) (No Nay Never)–a close third in the Wickerr S. at Del Mar July 23–and 260,000gns for Bellstreet Bridie (GB) (Sir Percy {GB}), who won last year's GIII Red Carpet H. straight off the plane last fall.

Things hadn't gone as swimmingly with Maltese Falcon, who sandwiched a third between a pair of fourth-place efforts at Santa Anita last winter before getting a freshen-up. A troubled third in a May 29 maiden, he backed up on short rest to finish runner-up in the June 11 Cinema S. going a mile and a quarter, an effort good enough to be the pari-mutuel darling Sunday afternoon.

“[Trainer] Leonard Powell told me this horse has a really good kick at the end,” the winning jockey commented. “I was really patient with him. My horse he wanted to run around the three-eighths, 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.”

Pedigree Notes:

Maltese Falcon is the 14th worldwide stakes winner and 10th group/graded winner for Caravaggio, who last year was sold to continue his stud career at Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan. Produced by a stakes-placed full-sister to Group 3-placed Pandora (Ire) and the multiple listed-placed Allegio (Ire), Maltese Falcon has a 2-year-old full-brother, a yearling half-sister by Mastercraftsman (Ire) and a weanling half-brother by Lope de Vega (Ire).

Sunday, Del Mar
LA JOLLA H.-GIII, $151,500, Del Mar, 8-6, 3yo, 1 1/16mT, 1:44.20, fm.
1–MALTESE FALCON (IRE), 118, g, 3, by Caravaggio
                1st Dam: Isabella (Ire) (SP-Eng), by Galileo (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Song of My Heart (Ire), by Footstepsinthesand (GB)
                3rd Dam: Catch The Moon (Ire), by Peintre Celebre
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. (105,000gns 2yo '22 TATAHI). O-Red Baron's Barn LLC and Rancho Temescal LLC; B-Sir Robert Ogden (IRE); T-Leonard Powell; J-Juan J. Hernandez. $90,000. Lifetime Record: 7-1-2-2, $135,948. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Panic Alarm (Ire), 120, g, 3, Kuroshio (Aus)–Thraya Queen (GB), by Shamardal. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. (12,000gns Wlg '20 TATFOA; £18,000 Ylg '21 TATIRY). O-Hronis Racing LLC; B-McCracken Farms (IRE); T-John W. Sadler. $30,000.
3–Agency, 120, c, 3, Bolt d'Oro–Queen of May, by Bernardini. ($100,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; $400,000 2yo '22 OBSMAR). O-Muir Hut Stables, LLC; B-Twin Creeks Farm (KY); T-Mark Glatt. $18,000.
Margins: 1, NO, HD. Odds: 3.20, 6.40, 7.50.
Also Ran: Justin's Legacy, Kid Azteca, Henry Q, Smart Mo, Zalamo (Fr).
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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