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Domestic Spending takes Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar – Press Telegram

If Chad Brown is ever in search of a new home, the 41-year-old trainer might want to strongly consider the Southern California circuit as a new stomping ground.

Brown, voted an Eclipse Award as the nation’s top trainer the past four years, won Saturday’s $300,000 Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar with 4-1 shot Domestic Spending for his third Turf Festival victory during this holiday weekend.

East Coast-based jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. rode all three winners for Brown, former assistant to the late Bobby Frankel who has now won 11 stakes races at Del Mar during a career that surely has him headed to racing’s Hall of Fame at some point.

Brown also won Thursday’s Grade III Red Carpet Handicap with favored Orglandes and, four races before the Hollywood Derby, took home first prize in the Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes with another favorite, Fluffy Socks.

So far this weekend, all five stakes races have been won by the Eastern invaders, including a 1-2-3 sweep in Friday’s Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup, a race that was won by trainer Brad Cox’s Arklow.

For Domestic Spending, a son of Kingman, the Hollywood Derby was his first graded-stakes victory and his fourth win in five starts as he padded his career bankroll to $520,900 with the first-place check for $180,000.

The winner closed from 10th early on in the 11-horse field and beat Smooth Like Strait, the 5-2 favorite, by a head while running the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.15 after 30-1 pacesetter Get Smokin and jockey Mike Smith carved out splits of 23.87, 48.23 and 1:12.38 before fading to finish fourth.

“When I asked him for his run at the three-eighths (pole), he was ready,” Ortiz said. “He really put in a nice kick. He’s been a little green in his earlier races, but he’s getting better all the time.”

Brown has a big shot to add to his lucrative weekend today when he sends out three horses in the $300,000 Grade I Matriarch Stakes as Del Mar’s fall Bing Crosby meet comes to a conclusion with a 10-race card that begins at noon.

Invaders rule

Count Again made it four for four for the Eastern invaders in this weekend’s Turf Festival, rallying strongly to get up in the final jumps and beat Flavius by three-quarters of a length in the $200,000 Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap.

Ridden by Juan Hernandez and trained by Philip D’Amato, Count Again, an 8-1 outsider, had been racing most recently at Woodbine in Toronto and won for the fourth time in eight starts while running the 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf course in a stakes-record 1:40.84.

The 5-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again scored the second graded-stakes victory of his career, coming from 12th after the first quarter-mile to catch Flavius, the 5-2 second choice, and earn first prize of $120,000.

“(Previous trainer) Gail Cox delivered this horse to me in excellent condition and I was really glad to have him,” D’Amato said. “She got him going really good and his confidence up as well and I just kind of trained on from that. I’m just fortunate to have him.”

Another for Brown

Brown made it two victories this holiday weekend when 8-5 favored Fluffy Socks rallied to win the $100,000 Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Both of Brown’s winners had to withstand inquiries, this one lodged by the owners of fifth-place finisher Consternation as the daughter of Slumber rallied from ninth after the first half-mile to beat Javanica by a half-length.

Winning time for the 1 mile on turf was 1:35.35 as Fluffy Socks won for the third time in five starts while collecting the winner’s check of $60,000.

“I didn’t think that anything would happen with the inquiry,” Brown assistant Jose Hernandez said. “I really thought this filly was going to win. She’s a really nice one.”

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