INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- This, Humberto Ascanio said, was the one he wanted.
Ascanio, the long-time assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel, got his first Grade 1 win on Friday in the Citation Handicap with Fluke, then came right back on Saturday at Hollywood Park to win another Grade 1 race, this time with the brilliant mare Ventura, who closed her career with a 1 3/4-length victory in the $300,000 Matriarch Stakes.
"That's the one I wanted. This one. For him," Ascanio said of Frankel after posing for pictures with Ventura.
Ascanio said that Frankel called him the night of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, in which Ventura finished second, and recommended Ventura race once more, in the Matriarch, a race Frankel won eight times before he died on Nov. 16.
"He knew she was going to win this one," Ascanio said.
Ventura ($3.20), the heavy favorite, ran one of the best races of her career. She sat third during the early going as Tuscan Evening ran loose on the lead, engaged that leader turning into the stretch, then flew home powerfully, covering the final furlong in 11.12 seconds to complete one mile on firm turf in 1:33.58 under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Tuscan Evening held on for second, a half-length in front of Diamondrella. Rutherienne, Puttanesca, and Taste's Sis completed the order of finish.
"This was her last race. I wish she'd stay one more year," Ascanio said.
Ventura, 5, won 10 times and finished second 8 times in 21 starts. She won four Grade 1 races, and lost two more in photo finishes. She is returning to her Kentucky birthplace, Juddmonte Farms, to be bred, but no mate has yet been selected, according to Juddmonte representative Garrett O'Rourke, who was at the Matriarch.
Generous: Who's Up growing up fast
Who's Up has grown up.
After proving to be a tough 2-year-old to train earlier this year, Who's Up has settled down in recent weeks, and won his second consecutive race, and first stakes, in Saturday's $100,000 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Who's Up ($21.80) finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of 22-1 Marcello, who was a half-length in front of 29-1 Lucky Rave. Bridgetown, the runner-up in the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 7, led to midstretch but faded to finish fourth. He was sent off at 2-5.
Who's Up ran a mile on turf in 1:34.39. Espinoza kept Who's Up just behind Bridgetown through early fractions of 24.50 and 48.07 seconds, dueled with the pacesetter in early lead and pulled clear late.
"We've got him so that he settles and settles and he picks it up down the lane in the morning," Walsh said. "They have to relax to go a distance."
Who's Up, by Graeme Hall, has won 2 of 4 starts and $93,000. He was seventh in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in his stakes debut on Sept. 7, and rebounded to win a maiden race on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.
Owner Mickey Gonzalez said that Who's Up will be pointed for the $750,000 CashCall Futurity over 1 1/16 miles on the main track on Dec. 19, if trainer Kathy Walsh is content with the colt's training in the build-up to that Grade 1 race.
- additional reporting by Steve Andersen