INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 15, 2010)-Ron McAnally, who has won the Sunset Handicap three times during his Hall of Fame career, will try for another Sunday at Hollywood Park.
McAnally, whose first Sunset victory came with Cruiser II in 1975, will send out Buenos Dias against six rivals in the $100,000 race at 1 ½ miles on turf. The Grade III is the closing day feature for the spring-summer meet.
Owned by Charles Cella, Buenos Dias, a 5-year-old son of Peintre Celebre out of the Rainbow Quest mare Buenos Aires, broke through with his first victory in the United States when returned to Hollywood Park on June 10.
Facing four opponents in the optional claimer at the Sunset distance, the Irish bred won by 2 ¼ lengths at 7-1. The victory ended a nine race losing streak for Buenos Dias, including eight losses in Southern California.
A winner of three of 19 – all on turf – with earnings of $223,412, Buenos Dias, who is 2-for-4 at 1 ½ miles, will again be ridden by Brice Blanc. McAnally’s other Sunset wins came with John Henry (1984) and Plicck (1999).
The only remaining entrant coming off a win is Champ Pegasus. In fact, the 4-year-old son of Fusaichi Pegasus and the Salt Lake mare Salt Champ has won two in a row for owner-breeders Diamond A Racing Corporation and Arturo Vargas and trainer Richard Mandella.
Nearly two months after defeating maidens at Santa Anita in his third start on grass, Champ Pegasus won an optional claimer going 1 ¼ miles at the 2-1 favorite on June 12 at Hollywood Park.
Joe Talamo remains with Champ Pegasus and the jockey will be looking for a repeat in the Sunset. He won with Black Astor a year ago. The last rider to go back-to-back in the race is Alex Solis, who scored three times in succession between 2005-07.
Champ Pegasus has won two of five and earned $68,520 for Mandella, who won the Sunset two years in a row – Sandpit (1995) and Talloires (1996).
Trainer Mike Mitchell, who has had a lot of success with claims in turf races in recent years, hopes for more of the same with Dynamic Range.
Taken for $40,000 by Mitchell for Indizguys Stable on May 20, the 4-year-old Dynaformer gelding and the Theatrical mare Simone’s Show will be shooting for his second win over the Hollywood Park turf.
A winner at the Sunset distance last fall at Santa Anita, Dynamic Range has won three of 14 while earning $133,360. Mitchell’s claims who went on to graded stakes success on turf include Star Over The Bay, who won the 2004 Sunset, Leprechaun Kid, Big Booster, Church Service, Ever A Friend and On The Acorn.
In terms of earnings, Unusual Suspect is by far the most accomplished of the participants.
Owned by trainer Barry Abrams, his wife Dyan and brother David, the 6-year-old Unusual Heat horse out of the Crested Wave mare Penpont has won eight of 48 and banked $805,850.
Bred in California by David Abrams, Unusual Suspect has only one win in 16 starts since the beginning of 2009. Three of his victories have come over the Hollywood Park turf.
Oil Man will be making his first start at 12 furlongs. The 4-year-old son of Pyrus and the Batshoof mare So Precious will try to rebound from a last place finish in the American Handicap on July 4.
Owned in partnership by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and trained by John Sadler, who won the 2008 Sunset with Warning Zone, Oil Man has three wins in 16 starts, earning $153,214. His only stakes win in 12 starts in the U.S. came in the 2009 Cinema, a Grade III, at Hollywood Park.
Completing the field are Marlang, who was fifth in a $64,900 allowance on June 27 in his California debut, and Great Siege, fifth in an allowance at 1 1/16 miles on June 6.
Owned and bred in Canada by Gustav Schickendanz and trained by Neil Drysdale, Marlang is 1-for-3 at the Sunset distance. He is 4-for-14 in his career with earnings of $498,212.
Trained by David Hofmans for Amerman Racing Stables, Great Siege will be trying 12 furlongs for the first time. The 5-year-old gelded son of Rock Of Gibraltar and the Indian Ridge mare Tosca’s Empire has won three of 17. His bankroll stands at $152,260.From the inside out, the field for the 70th Sunset Handicap: Great Siege, Tyler Baze rides, 114 pounds; Oil Man, Martin Garcia, 115; Dynamic Range, Rafael Bejarano, 115; Champ Pegasus, Joe Talamo, 113; Buenos Dias, Brice Blanc, 115; Unusual Suspect, Corey Nakatani, 114 and Marlang, Joel Rosario, 115.
The Sunset is the ninth of 10 races Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m.
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