GRADE III TOKYO CITY CUP MARATHON EVOLVES INTO TWO-HORSE RACE WITH DYNAMIC HOST EDGING DHAAMER BY A NECK AT THE FINISH

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 24, 2012) – They raced 1 ½ miles in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup, and after the field bunched rounding the Santa Anita marathon’s far turn, only a neck separated victorious Dynamic Host from runner-up Dhaamer at the finish line.

The two steadily separated themselves from the others entering the stretch with 5-1 Dynamic Host, who had rallied from last under David Flores, taking over. Irish-import Dhaamer, the 5-2 second choice, determinedly closed the gap. But Dynamic Host was steadfast while crossing the wire in 2:30.22 on the “fast” main track.

In the end, it was 4 ¼ lengths back to third-place Skipshot and another 13 ¼ back to fourth-place Eldaafer. Twice the Appeal, the 9-5 favorite, wound up sixth, 27 lengths behind the winner.

A son of Dynaformer, a distinguished sire of grass runners with distance capabilities, Dynamic Host had won at 1 3/8 miles on turf, but had raced only once over a dirt surface. He finished second going one mile at the Sacramento Fair in July of last year.

Dhaamer -- making his first U.S. start after 11 races in Ireland; 10 on grass, one on synthetic footing – had no dirt surface experience, but under the guidance of Rafael Bejarano for trainer Mike Mitchell demonstrated his marathon potential in this country.

Art Sherman, who trains Dynamic Host for Zvika Akin, Greg Avery and Bill Wilbur, indicated a return to grass could be in order while citing the historic Grade II San Juan Capistrano Handicap at 1 ¾ miles on closing day, April 22.

“He was hanging in there tough through the stretch,” Sherman said in review of Saturday’s showing by his 6-year-old gelding. “He impressed me with his gameness, but sometimes he likes to hang. I was getting a little nervous. It was an absolutely wonderful ride by David Flores.

“The horse showed a lot of heart. Sometimes, David would tell me, he’d get next to a horse and kind of just want to go with it. But he really bore down this time. I was happy. He could go either way (dirt or grass in his next start). We could take a look at the San Juan. I’ll see how he comes out of the race and how he’s training.”

“I had an excellent trip,” Flores said. “He broke slow like he always does, so I wasn’t worried about it. He jumped into the bit the first time we got to the first stretch, so I had to take control of him.

“On the second turn, I let him get comfortable and he moved up to the leaders. I had to work hard from the turn onwards because he’s lazy when he gets the lead. He’s got the ability to go that far, so the distance of the race was on our side. I had great position in the race, and I took advantage of that. I’m glad we came out in front.” Scoring his first win in five starts for Sherman since being claimed for $40,000 last August at Del Mar, Dynamic Host paid $13, $5.80 and $3.60. Dhaamer returned $4.40 and $3.80. Skipshot, ridden by Kevin Krigger, paid $4.80 to show. The winning purse of $60,000 elevated the career earnings of Dynamic Host to $217,528.

The 9th running of the $30,000 March Madness Starter Handicap went to 5-2 favorite Unusual Jazz, who defeated Best Verse by 1 ¼ lengths while covering 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.03. The winner, ridden by Alonso Quinonez, paid $7.20.

A pair of Grade II, $150,000 turf stakes, the San Luis Rey at 1 ½ miles and the Santa Ana at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares, head Sunday’s nine-race program with first post at 12:30 p.m.

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