The Brazilian-bred Planetario earned his most significant post-importation victory to date when taking the $201,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar on Friday.
Under an astute, ground-saving ride by Hector Berrios, Planetario bulled his way through a narrow seam between rivals in the stretch to take the lead and just lasted over 7-5 favorite Francesco Clemente.
“I wanted to run behind (horses) where he is more relaxed,” Berrios said. “We came close (to other horses) in the stretch but a little space opened and my horse, he responded.”
Francesco Clemente took the overland route into contention after trailing the field most of the way, but his bid came too late as Planetario emerged with the win by a neck. Lukka was only nose behind in third while finishing in between the top pair.
The order of finish was rounded out by long-time pacesetter Balladeer, Speaking Scout, Eastern Ocean, and Astronaut.
A homebred raced by Red Rafa Stud, Planetario completed 1 1/2 miles on firm ground in 2:28.02. He returned $12.40 to win.
This was the fourth Hollywood Turf Cup win for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, though his first since the race was moved to Del Mar a decade ago following the closure of Hollywood Park. His first Turf Cup victory was way back in 1982 with The Hague.
A multiple Group 1 winner in Brazil in 2021, Planetario has won two of seven starts since arriving in the U.S. He’s put in a full campaign this term, starting with a third in the May 13 San Luis Rey (G3). A 4 1/2-length winner of the San Juan Capistrano (G3) in June, the bay entered the Turf Cup following fifths in the United Nations (G1) and Del Mar H. (G2), and a fourth in the John Henry Turf Championship (G2).
A five-year-old, Planetario is by Il Doge and out of Aerosfera, by Crimson Tide.