A stellar field of as many as 12 2-year-olds have their sights set on the Grade I, $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity, which will be run for the 33rd time Saturday, Dec. 14 at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track.
A supplementary nominee – $15,000 to enter and an additional $15,000 to start – and a prime contender in the CashCall is Jungle Racing, Hollendorfer, Solis II et al’s Shared Belief, a convincing 7 ¾ length winner of the Grade III Hollywood Prevue Nov. 10.
The son of Candy Ride and the Storm Cat mare Common Hope was making his first start for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in the Prevue after being purchased privately following a handy victory Oct. 19 at Golden Gate Fields. Corey Nakatani will again ride.
Hollendorfer also will be represented by Larry and Marianne Williams’ Tamarando, who closed from last Nov. 23 to win the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes under leading rider Rafael Bejarano. The son of Bertrando displayed his class this summer with a victory in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 4. Bejarano has the return engagement.
Fog City Stable’s Tap It Rich, beaten 3 ¼ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in just his second start, will try to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his seventh victory in the CashCall. The gray son of Tapit worked a mile in 1:42 Dec. 2 and will have Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard.
Reddam Racing LLC’s Bond Holder, who finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, became a Grade I winner when he pulled off a 10-1 surprise in the Front Runner Stakes Sept. 28 at Santa Anita. Regular rider Mario Gutierrez has the mount for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Other likely starters are the John Sadler-trained duo of Kobe’s Back (Joel Rosario) and Candy Boy (Gary Stevens), both owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable; the Ken McPeek-trained pair of Magdelena Racing’s Rankhasprivileges (supplementary nom, no rider) and Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Sheikinator (supplementary nom, no rider); J K Racing’s Brother Soldier (Craig Dollase, Edwin Maldonado); Brewster Racing Stable et al’s Karma King (Dollase, Joe Talamo); Gary and Mary West’s Poker Player (supplementary nom, no rider) and Reddam Racing LLC’s Electric Eddie (supplementary nom, Ben Cecil, no rider).
Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice?
Sports broadcaster Jim Rome, who recently sold two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection for $2.7 million, has suddenly found himself with a major contender for Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity and a 2014 Kentucky Derby prospect.
Alex Solis II was responsible for Rome’s involvement with Mizdirection and was Johnny on the spot when Shared Belief became available.
“I’ve worked with Jerry (Hollendorfer) for about a year now,” Solis explained. “He told me (Pam and Marty Wygod) had a horse for sale and to take a look at him and put together a partnership. I went up north the next morning at 5 a.m. and liked what I saw. I did my homework on him. He had a real good (speed) figure and his maiden race was very impressive. All the credit goes to Jerry.”
“Usually it’s so difficult to put these things together, but this was so fast, it was ridiculous. Jerry took a third, and out of my two thirds, I solid pieces to Rome, Jason Litt and KMN Racing.”
“I think Rome is happy,” understated Solis.
Incidentally, Solis’ father, Alex Solis, is tied with Laffit Pincay, Jr. for most victories among jockeys (4) in the CashCall Futurity.
Comma to the Top, whose career highlight was a victory in the 2010 CashCall Futurity, has been retired but will remain with trainer Peter Miller as a stable pony.
“That day he won the Futurity gave us our biggest thrill,” said Miller. “It was pouring rain and there was a long delay in the paddock for a shoe repair, but he won easily.”
Miller stated that it’s a long process to transfer from a race horse to a stable pony.
“It usually takes about six months,” said Miller. “You have to re-break them and get them used to a different saddle.”
A 5-year-old bay gelding by Bwana Charlie, Comma to the Top ends his career with 14 victories in 33 starts and earnings of $1,349,406. He is one of 36 horses to win at least five stakes races at Hollywood Park.
“He owes us zero,” added Miller. “As long as I’m around, he’ll have a home.”
Pandora Stud’s Lucayan, second in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap Aug. 24, heads a field of 8-10 expected starters in the Grade II, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, which will be run at 1 ½ miles Saturday, Dec. 14.
The French bred from the barn of Hall of Fame Neil Drysdale is seeking his first United States victory after finishing second or third in a trio of Grade II events. The 4-year-old worked six furlongs in 1:14 2/5 Sunday morning and a determination as to his status for the Turf Cup is forthcoming.
Among his challengers will be Niall Racing’s Temeraine (trainer Tom Proctor, Gary Stevens), winner of the Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup Sept. 14 at Kentucky Downs.
Other possible starters are Wachtel Stables or Friedman’s Artic North (Peter Miller, Joe Talamo), Dye or Venneri Racing’s Bright Thought (Jorge Gutierrez, Edwin Maldonado), Alain and Gerard Wertheimer’s Segway (Richard Mandella, Mike Smith), Madeline Auerbach’s Empty Headed (Barry Abrams, no rider), Huntsville (Abrams, no rider), and Robert Trussell, Jr.’s Et Tu Walker (Patrick Biancone, no rider).
CLOSING STRIDES*—Streaming, winner of Saturday’s Grade I Hollywood Starlet, and Fiftyshadesofhay, second in the Grade II Bayakoa Stakes, both came out of the race in good order, according to *Mike Marlow, assistant to Bob Baffert. Jerry Hollendorfer, who saddled Broken Sword for a victory in the Bayakoa and Taste Like Candy for a runner-up finish in the Starlet, reported that each returned in good health. Hollendorfer has now won the Bayakoa in back-to-back years (Lady of Fifty in 2012) and three of the last four years (Washington Bridge in 2010)……… Gary Stevens and Mike Smith had little luck in the Longines International Jockey Championship, held Saturday night at Happy Valley in Hong Kong. Smith accounted for the only points earned between the pair with a third place finish in the second leg. Winner of the competition, Australia’s Kerrin McEvoy, paid tribute to the two American Hall of Famers in his post-event comments. “It’s been a fantastic experience riding with such greats as Gary Stevens and Mike Smith and I’m grateful to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for inviting me here,’’ said McEvoy. ……..Rafael Bejarano increased his advantage in the jockey standings last week and now holds a 27-21 lead over Martin Garcia. Joe Talamo is third with 20. The trainers are well grouped, with Baffert holding a 13-11 lead over Peter Miller. John Sadler is third with 10…… With one player eliminated Saturday, it’s down to the final four in the $2,500 winner-take-all Show Me the Money contest.
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