Multiple stakes winner Bourbon Bay and Miss Match, a Grade I stakes-winning mare, worked seven furlongs on the Hollywood Park turf course Sunday morning for the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Saturday.
Bourbon Bay was clocked in 1:29 under exercise rider Debra Biggs while Miss Match was timed in 1:29.40 with jockey Mike Smith to the satisfaction of trainer Neil Drysdale for the Grade I test at 1 ½ miles on turf.
Bourbon Bay, 5-year-old gelding who has won five graded stakes, seeks to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the Grade I Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine September 18 in quest of his first Grade I score.
“He didn’t care for the course,” said Drysdale of the disappointing effort in Canada.
Bourbon Bay seeks to follow in the footsteps of his sire, Sligo Bay, who won the race in 2002. The only father-son team to win the Turf Cup in its 28-year history are Bien Bien in 1992 and Bienamado in 2000.
Garrett Gomez, who won the Turf Cup aboard Boboman in 2006 and Sunriver in 2007, seeks his third win in the race in the past five runnings.
Miss Match, a 6-year-old mare who won the Grade I Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita in March, will be ridden for the first time by Smith in a battle against males. “She needs distance,” explained Drysdale of choosing this spot for the Argentine-bred mare.
Champion Miss Alleged, a 4-year-old filly, is the only female to win the Turf Cup (1991), but others have been close. Megahertz finished second in 2004. Queen to Conquer (1981) and Zalataia (1983) were also second, and Trishyde (1992) was third. Treat Gently, the 2-1 second choice last year, finished fourth.
Ashtar, winner of the Group I El Derby in Chile last February, worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:12.60 on the main track for trainer Ruben Cardenas. Hector Berrios will ride the 4-year-old Chilean-bred colt, who finished fourth in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Santa Anita in his fourth United States start October 2.
Sanagas, winner of the Grade III Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland in his last start October 20, is scheduled to be flown here Wednesday from trainer Graham Motion’s training center in Fair Hill, Md. The 5-year-old German-bred gelding by Lomitas has won six of nine starts and will have regular jockey Rajiv Maragh aboard.
Other probable starters are California Cup Classic winner Norvsky (Rafael Bejarano), Goldwaki (Brice Blanc) and Falcon Rock.
BAFFERT EYES CASHCALL FUTURITY WITH QUARTET
Trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the CashCall Futurity a record five times, has designs on number six when the $750,000 Grade I stake for 2-year-olds is run at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track here December 17.
“I could have as many as four horses in there,” said Baffert, listing Real Quiet Stakes winner Liaison, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Secret Circle, Del Mar Futurity winner Drill and So Brilliant, scheduled to prep in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes November 24. Drill is slated to first run in the $1-million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes in Louisiana Saturday.
Liaison joined the list with an auspicious stakes debut in the Real Quiet at the CashCall distance of 1 1/16 miles for his second victory in three starts.
Liaison, owned by Arnold Zetcher, is by Indian Charlie out of the Victory Gallop mare Galloping Gal.
Baffert figured that Victory Gallop owed him his first Real Quiet victory after costing Real Quiet the 1998 Triple Crown by a nose in the Belmont Stakes.
Baffert, who trained Real Quiet to victories in the 1997 CashCall (then-called Hollywood) Futurity and 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, won his first Real Quiet after being disqualified from first in 2005 with Bob and John and finishing second with Prayer for Relief last year.
Baffert said he liked the distance potential of Liaison because he appears to have inherited Victory Gallop’s staying power more than Indian Charlie’s brilliance.
COMMA TO THE TOP NEARS RETURN WITH BULLET WORK
Comma to the Top, who swept the Real Quiet and Generous Stakes and CashCall Futurity to earn Horse of the Meet honors last autumn, signaled his readiness for a return to the races with a bullet five-furlong work in 59 seconds on Cushion Track Sunday.
The 3-year-old gelding went to the sidelines after finishing 19th in the Kentucky Derby in May. “He chipped an ankle and spent 90 days at Bonnie Acres in Hemet before returning to the track,” explained trainer Peter Miller.
The work under Joel Rosario was his seventh since his return. “He’s filled out a little, but he was pretty big to begin with,” said Miller. “He’s a willing horse, a happy horse. He goes out every day and bucks and squeals.”
Miller said that Comma to the Top would probably return in the $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes at six furlongs November 26. “He can sprint, he really likes this track, and the timing is perfect for the Malibu (Stakes Dec. 26 at Santa Anita),” said Miller.
EURO QUINTET TO ARRIVE WEDNESDAY FOR TURF FESTIVAL
Five European horses are scheduled to arrive Wednesday at Hollywood Park for the Turf Festival November 25-27.
Trainer Charles Hills is shipping Slumber for the $250,000 Hollywood Derby November 27 and Island Paradise for the $100,000 Miesque Stakes November 25. Also bound for the Derby is the Jeremy Noseda-trained Western Aristocrat, winner of the Grade I Jamaica Handicap at Belmont.
Trainer Brian Meehan is shipping Strawberry Daiquri for the $250,000 Matriarch November 25. Conditioner Dermot Weld is shipping Blue White Fire for the $100,000 Generous Stakes November 27.
Joel Rosario has taken calls on Strawberry Daiquiri, Island Paradise and Blue White Fire. Garrett Gomez will ride Slumber, and Corey Nakatani has the return call on Western Aristocrat.
FINISH LINES—Made to Love Her (Rafael Bejarano) and Woebegon (Joe Talamo) are probable starters in the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at seven furlongs next Sunday…Jockeys Joel Rosario and Martin Garcia will be at Delta Downs Saturday for rich stakes mounts. Rosario will ride Longview Drive for Jerry Hollendorfer in the $1-million Delta Jackpot Stakes while Garcia has calls for Bob Baffert on Drill in the Delta Jackpot and Candrea in the $500,000 Delta Downs Princess Stakes…Handsome Mike worked six furlongs on turf in 1:14 for Melody Conlon for the Generous Stakes…Two-time San Simeon Handicap winner Mr Gruff worked five furlongs on turf in 1:01.60 breezing for trainer Ron Ellis for his return in the $60,000-added Night Mover Stakes Friday night… Garrett Gomez has taken a call on Oak Tree Mile winner Jeranimo in the $250,000 Citation Handicap November 26…Rafael Bejarano will ride Uniformity Stakes winner Irish Art in the Hollywood Derby. The race is also expected to attract 1-2-3 Oak Tree Derby finishers Ultimate Eagle, Venomous and Cozy Kitten and European invaders Western Aristocrat and Slumber…By sending out North Fork to victory Saturday, trainer Mike Mitchell has moved within one of Charlie Whittingham as the second-leading winner in Hollywood Park history. Mitchell raised his total to 858. Bobby Frankel is the leader with 952…Trainer Richard Mandella said that stakes winner Champ Pegasus underwent surgery Saturday for a cracked cannon bone and is expected to be sidelined three months…Trainer Bob Baffert said that speedster Euroears, a graded stakes winner at Santa Anita and Del Mar, is probable for the Vernon Underwood Stakes November 26…Trainer Mike Puype reported that 2010 Hollywood Starlet winner Turbulent Descent, a troubled fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, has returned and is pointing to the Grade I La Brea Stakes Dec. 31 at Santa Anita…Alex Elliott, assistant to trainer Eoin Harty here for the past 2 ½ years, leaves his post to return to his native England Wednesday but said he hoped to be back one day.
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