INGLEWOOD, Calif. (September 2, 2010)—Prior to its autumn season, which commences with a night card on Thursday, Nov. 4, Hollywood Park will play host for the first time to Oak Tree. The 42nd season will begin on Sept. 30 and continue through Oct. 31.
Uncertainty regarding the condition of the main track at Santa Anita triggered the move of the Oak Tree Racing Association, a not-for-profit, non-dividend paying group of California owners and breeders, away from the venue it has occupied since 1969.
The main event on opening night – post time 7:05 p.m. — is the $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Handicap, a Grade III for older fillies and mares on the turf. Due to a different course configuration, the Maddy is one of three grass stakes during the Oak Tree season that will have a distance change.
The others are the Morvich Handicap (Oct. 11) and the California Cup Distaff (Oct. 30). All will be six furlongs instead of at about 6 ½ furlongs.
A number of Breeders’ Cup preps and the 21st California Cup, a series of stakes races restricted to California breds, highlight the 22-day season.
The first weekend of the meet (Oct. 2-3) will feature six Grade I events for horses with Breeders’ Cup aspirations. The Breeders’ Cup will be held Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs.
What will be most anticipated of those races is the final Southern California start for the undefeated Zenyatta. The 6-year-old daughter of Street Cry, who has been stabled at Hollywood Park throughout her career, is expected to seek her 19th win in a race that she has already won twice.
Scheduled to be called the $250,000 Zenyatta Stakes for the first time in 2010, the race at 1 1/16 miles has been restored to its original name – the $250,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes – and Zenyatta, who was returned to racing this year after her connections changed their mind about her retirement, will shoot for another victory in the Grade 1.
Zenyatta, who is being pointed for a defense of her 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic victory on Nov. 6, won the Lady’s Secret in both 2008 and 2009 for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs.
The Lady’s Secret is one of four Grade 1’s to be run on Oct. 2. The others are the $250,000 Goodwood Stakes for older horses at 1 1/8 miles, the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles and the $250,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
The following day is topped by the $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship for older horses at 1 ¼ miles on turf and the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.
A six furlong affair for older horses, the $250,000 Ancient Title is the last of the Grade 1’s at the meet and will be run on Oct. 9.
“It’s an honor to run the Oak Tree stakes races at Hollywood Park,’’ said Martin Panza, vice-president racing and racing secretary. “Oak Tree has seven Grade 1’s that are very prestigious and extremely significant in getting horses ready for the Breeders’ Cup. We look forward to having those races run here.’’
Captured a year ago by Bold Chieftain, the $150,000 California Cup Classic Presented by City National Bank tops the Cal Cup card. The day will feature seven stakes for California breds with purses totaling $700,000.
View the complete stakes schedule
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