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Sabiango gets in front and stays there

June 12, 2004
By Steve Anderson
The Daily Racing Form

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Sabiango, a multiple stakes winner in Germany in recent years, scored an upset in his first start of 2004 in Saturday's $350,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The front-running Sabiango ran the 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:01.51. He is owned by Monty Roberts, a horseman who became famous through the book and subsequent movie "The Horse Whisperer."

Ridden by Tyler Baze for trainer Bob Baffert, Sabiango ($28.80) was unchallenged for much of the Grade 1 Whittingham. Sabiango set modest fractions of 25.91 and 50.68 seconds, leading by as many as three lengths on the backstretch.

On the final turn, Bayamo, trained by Julio Canani and making his stakes debut, launched a rally along the rail. Bayamo got within three-quarters of a length of Sabiango at the wire. Bayamo finished a nose in front of Just Wonder in the field of 11. It took racing officials six minutes to determine the second and third placings.

Continuously, the 7-2 favorite, finished sixth. Musical Chimes, the French 1000 Guineas winner in 2003, was near the pace for the first mile, but faded to finish seventh. The Whittingham was her first stakes appearance against males.

Irish Warrior, who was fourth in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Mile, did not finish. He was pulled up on the final turn by jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. Irish Warrior was unsound in his left foreleg, track officials said.

Sabiango, 6, has won 6 of 16 starts and $704,333. Last year in Germany, Sabiango won a Group 1 race, the Deutschlandpreis, at Dusseldorf over about 1 1/2 miles on turf. In 2001, he won two group races in Cologne, a Group 1 over 1 1/2 miles and a Group 2 over 1 3/8 miles.

Last fall, Sabiango ran twice in North America, finishing fourth in the Turf Classic at Belmont Park and fifth in the Canadian International at Woodbine.

In the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase last December, he finished last of 14, leading to the quarter pole before fading.

Sabiango has been based with Baffert assistant Tim Yakteen at Hollywood Park for several months.

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