Jeffrey Bloom's Majestic City moved his record to a perfect three-for-three on Sunday when suddenly bursting clear to a 2 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship on the Inglewood, California, venue's closing day.
Following in the hoofprints of last year's Willard L. Proctor Memorial and Juvenile Championship conqueror, J P's Gusto, the Peter Miller-trained Majestic City stopped the clock for Sunday's contest when going six furlongs on the Cushion Track in 1:10.45.
Majestic City almost didn't make the starting gate of the Hollywood Juvenile Championship after falling in the paddock. He was checked over and allowed to warm up on the track under the watchful eye of state veterinarian Dr. Dana Stead before being allowed to go in the gate.
"He got startled by the crowd in the paddock and he sucked back and lost his footing," Miller explained. "He didn't flip over but he kind of fell sideways. The rule is that if a horse flips, they scratch him. But he didn't actually flip, he kind of fell more sideways. I want to thank the state vet who allowed the horse to warm up to see how he was and allowing the horse to run. He looked perfect."
Even after getting the go ahead, Majestic City still caused some trouble loading in the gate. He was eventually settled into his far outside stall and broke on top, but allowed Night Tide to take control of the race. Settling into second just outside of that rival, the chestnut colt and jockey David Flores kept in close attendance through splits of :22.44 and :45.54 while Brigand followed just their inside in third. Night Tide continued to lead in the stretch, and Majestic City dropped back to third after entering the lane wide. Brigand was more than willing to take advantage of that by moving up into second, but the eventual winner was just getting into gear.
A few taps of the whip and Majestic City took off while three wide. He flew past Brigand and Night Tide to add the winner's share to his career earnings, which now stand at $135,570.
"He wasn't even trying all the way around the turn. I'm driving and he's not moving. I got worried a little bit," Flores admitted. "But then when he changed leads, I got after him harder and whipped him a few times and I could feel the difference. He had better extension and he leveled beautifully.
"He's still learning. That trouble in the paddock stirred him up a little because he got a little spooky at the gate and he never did that before. They loaded him early and he relaxed once he got in the gate. The gate crew is unbelievable. They try to help you out so the horses don't get injured."
"He got real antsy behind the starting gate, which he had never done before," Miller said. "So we've got some more schooling to do with him but the way everything is going with him, we're happy. You've got to run hard and fast to beat (trainer Bob) Baffert (who saddled the second- and third-place finishers). Those were two nice colts that he beat. I was a little worried at the quarter-pole because he wasn't really moving, and then at the eighth-pole he really leveled off and continued on."
Miller indicated he'll keep Majestic City on the same path as J P's Gusto and enter him in the August 7 Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar. J P's Gusto captured that race by a half-length last year prior to adding the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity to his resume.
Sent off the 4-5 favorite in Sunday's race, Majestic City didn't disappoint his many backers to pay $3.80, $2.60 and $2.10. Brigand got the better of Night Tide in the end, with Pend Oreille following in fourth. Super Candy and Rino S completed the order under the wire after Ruler of Dubai and He's a Bandit were both withdrawn.
Bred in Kentucky by Trackside Farm and Robert & Helen Evans, Majestic City passed through the sales ring twice, bringing $30,000 as a Keeneland September yearling and $180,000 as an OBS March two-year-old. In addition to taking his maiden by 1 1/2 lengths on May 21, the juvenile colt posted a 3 1/2-length triumph in the Proctor prior to Sunday's race.
Majestic City is by City Zip and out of the winning It'schemistrybaby, who is also responsible for an unnamed yearling colt by Street Hero and a 2011 After Market filly. She is a half-sister to multiple stakes-placed She is Raging, while her dam is a half-sibling to Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Vashon and the stakes-placed duo of Bold Bluff and Brazen n' Bold.
This is the same female family as Golden Pheasant, who captured the Arlington Million, Japan Cup, John Henry, Inglewood and Prix Niel while placing in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud, Eddie Read and a second edition of the Arlington Million.