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So Brilliant takes Prevue

HOLLYWOOD PREVUE STAKES | PURSE: $100,000 | GRADE 3 | 2-YEAR-OLDS | 7 FURLONGS

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- In a battle of impressive debut winners, So Brilliant shined and Empire Way never fired in the Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Prevue on Thursday at Hollywood Park.

So Brilliant ($4.80), the favorite, led from virtually start to finish and staved off a slew of late challengers to win the seven-furlong race by a half-length over Brother Francis, who rallied from sixth in the seven-horse field to finish second.

Hodge was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Empire Way, the full brother to Royal Delta who was a debut winner just 11 days ago, finished sixth while never a factor, his closing kick negated by a surprisingly soft early pace for a sprint.

Galex broke down three furlongs from the wire, and subsequently was euthanized because of severe injuries to his left front leg.

So Brilliant was timed in 1:22.96 for seven furlongs on Cushion Track after setting fractions of 22.94 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.64 seconds for a half-mile. Martin Garcia rode the winner for trainer Bob Baffert, who was visiting his in-laws in Tennessee on Thanksgiving Day. Assistant trainer Mike Marlow saddled So Brilliant.

So Brilliant won his debut Oct. 22 at Santa Anita as the 3-5 favorite. The Prevue was his second start. With two sprints as a foundation, he is likely to make his two-turn debut in the Grade 1, $750,000 Cash Call Futurity on Dec. 17, according to his owner, Arnold Zetcher.

"This is very exciting," Zetcher said in the winner's circle. "The way he won first time out, we thought we had something."