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Mast Track ends losing streak

12/15/2009

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- A day after being privately acquired by Frank Stronach, Mast Track ended a nine-race losing streak in Saturday's $100,000 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The winner of the 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup, Mast Track used his customary front-running style to win the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Mast Track ($8.20) ran 1 1/8 miles on the main track in 1:50.53.

"When he gets the lead, he gets real brave," trainer Humberto Ascanio said. "Rafael did a good job."

Mast Track beat Tres Borrachos to the lead and set early fractions of 24.57 and 48.76 seconds, leading the field of five. Mast Track was never seriously challenged after the first half-mile, led by three lengths in the stretch, and held off High Court Drama in the final furlong.

Neko Bay, the 2-1 favorite who was last until early stretch, closed in the final furlong to finish third, losing by 1 3/4 lengths. Tres Borrachos and Square Eddie completed the order of finish.

Mast Track was bred by the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Frankel died last month. Frankel campaigned Mast Track, and his trust sold the horse Friday, according to Ascanio.

Mast Track, 5, has won 6 of 20 starts and $922,822. Earlier this year, he was second in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar, losing by a nose.

The Native Diver was his first win since the Gold Cup.

The Native Diver field was reduced by one when Lava Man, the 8-year-old gelding, was withdrawn Saturday morning because of wet conditions. Trainer Doug O'Neill said he did not want to start Lava Man for the first time in 16 months on a track different than the one on which he had trained.