44-1 shot Wilkinson wins American Handicap
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) - Wilkinson beat Mr. Commons by 1 1/4 lengths Saturday to win the $150,000 American Handicap at 44-1 odds at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Ridden by Martin Pedroza, Wilkinson angled outside approaching the stretch, collared pacesetter Liberian Freighter with less than an eighth of a mile to go and withstood the late surge of 3-5 favorite Mr. Commons.
Wilkinson ran a mile on the turf in 1:33.37 and paid $90.60, $18.20 and $8.20 in his first start for trainer Jeff Mullins, who took over the horse five days ago. The 4-year-old's first graded stakes win of his career ended a six-race losing streak. It was the biggest upset in the 73-year history of the Grade 2 race. The previous highest win price was $64.20 by Takarian in 1999.
Mr. Commons returned $2.40 and $2.10 in losing his second straight. Liberian Freighter was another half-length back in third and paid $5.40 to show.
Wilkinson has five wins in 18 career starts and earnings of $336,994.
Meanwhile, Siempre Mio, who was scheduled to make his first start for new part-owners Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, was scratched from the sixth race.
Trainer Doug O'Neill, who oversees Triple Crown contender I'll Have Another, said the 4-year-old gelding was coughing, so he decided to keep him in the barn. He said Siempre Mio, who has two wins in five starts, could return to action within two weeks.
Bryant and Gasol each purchased a 25 percent interest in the gelding at a Lakers charity auction last month. The California-bred also is owned by Santa Anita CEO Mark Verge and Chris Quinn, another Santa Anita executive.