Mike Mitchell was elated with workouts by stable stars Obviously and Camp Victory June 22 and stamped them ready for their respective starts in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile and Grade I, $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap.
The Shoemaker, which is on turf, and the Triple Bend – at seven furlongs over Cushion Track – are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races.
The winner of the Shoemaker Mile receives fees-paid entry into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile while the Triple Bend winner gets the same reward for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Obviously, who won the Grade II American Handicap May 25, worked five furlongs in 59 1/5 seconds, the second fastest of 39 works at the distance that morning at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old Irish bred has won five of 11 in the United States and is 4-for-5 at the Shoemaker distance on turf.
“He’s doing great,” said Mitchell. “He galloped out super.”
Camp Victory, the defending Triple Bend champion, drilled six furlongs in 1:13 1/5. A year ago, Mitchell, along with his family, watched the Forest Camp gelding’s victory via computer from the intensive care unit of USC Medical Center, one day after the trainer underwent surgery for a brain tumor.
Mitchell had a brief scare last Sunday when he collapsed after winning the sixth race with Gutshot Straight.
“I’m feeling much better,” said Mitchell. “It was a combination of things. I was in the sun too long, it was awfully hot and I had a seizure. Plus, I had a lot of caffeine in me, I was dehydrated and still a little weak from a chemo treatment.”
Mitchell is back training at his stable and looking forward to the Shoemaker Mile and Triple Bend. The 65-year-old is the second winningest trainer in Hollywood Park history. He enters Sunday needing just one win to reach 900 at the Inglewood track. Bobby Frankel is the all-time leader with 952 victories.
“I’m coming out to see Obviously and Camp Victory,’’ he said. “This time I’m going to bring my hat and find some shade.”
FIELDS FOR SHOEMAKER MILE, TRIPLE BEND FIRMING UP
The fields for Saturday’s two Grade I races at Betfair Hollywood Park, the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile and $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, are firming up.
The Shoemaker, at one mile on turf, and Triple Bend, at seven furlongs, are Breeders’ Cup
“Win and You’re In” races. The winner of each gets an expenses paid, automatic entry into the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race.
A field of six or seven is likely for the Shoemaker, headed by Fanticola and Scardino’s Obviously. The three-time Grade II winner is coming off an easy victory in the American Handicap May 25. Mike Mitchell trains the Irish bred, who is seeking his first Grade I score.
Other expected starters are Jeranimo (Mike Pender, Rafael Bejarano), who won the Shoemaker last year; Lucayan (Neil Drysdale, Julien Leparoux) second to Obviously in the American; Za Approval (Christophe Clemente, Garrett Gomez), coming off consecutive Grade III victories at Gulfstream Park and Monmouth Park) and Wilkinson (Jeff Mullins, Martin Pedroza), the 44-1 winner of the 2012 American Handicap.
Jimmy Creed, the winner of the Grade I Malibu Stakes last Dec. 26 at Santa Anita, is among seven or eight probables for the Triple Bend. Garrett Gomez has the assignment for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella on Jimmy Creed, who took the Grade II Potrero Grande April 6 in his last start.
Comma to the Top, winner of 14 of 31 starts for Peter Miller and victorious in the Los Angeles Handicap on Cushion Track May 27, will be partnered by regular rider Edwin Maldonado. The $1.2 million dollar earner is 5-for-9 for-nine at Betfair Hollywood Park, including a victory in the Grade I CashCall Futurity in 2010.
Mike Mitchell will try to win the Triple Bend for a second consecutive year with Camp Victory. A 6-year-old gelded son of Forest Camp, Camp Victory tuned up for the race with a third-place finish in the Los Angeles. Joe Talamo has the call.
Rail Trip, the winner of the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup, and Centralinteligence, second in the Los Angeles, will represent the barn of trainer Ron Ellis. Jose Valdivia, Jr. is scheduled to ride Rail Trip while Victor Espinoza has the call on Centralinteligence. Ellis entered Sunday four wins shy of 1,000 in his career.
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert has four nominated to the Triple Bend, but probably will run only one or two. The most likely starter for Baffert is Drill, winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity in 2011 and the Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes in 2012 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
PUYPE TIES 58-YEAR-OLD RECORD, WILL TRY TO BREAK IT SUNDAY
To put this week in baseball terms, Mike Puype is entering the eighth inning pitching a perfect game.
It’s rare in any major sport to tie or break a 58-year-old record, but that’s just what Puype has done.
The 46-year-old trainer has started six horses this week and all have won. The last trainer to win six in a row at Betfair Hollywood Park was Allen Drumheller, Sr. (July 4-5, 1955). Puype will try for a record seventh consecutive win Sunday. He has two entered; Moonlight Splitter (8-1) in the sixth race and Goodtobewild (7-2) in the eighth.
The Arizona native knew he had several live horses this week, but acknowledged that he benefited from “good rides and great trips.”
The streak started Thursday with Change of Plan ($5), and continued Friday with Smart N Dreamy ($6.20) and Bella Viaggia ($3.80). He took it up a notch Saturday with a triple; Muchos Besos ($25), Insideondoutside ($6) and Hustlin Nu ($6).
A $2 win parlay on his six winners would have returned approximately $3,300.
DOINGHARDTIMEAGAIN, IOTAPA RETURN IN GOOD SHAPE
Doinghardtimeagain and Iotapa, the 1-2 finishers in Saturday’s Grade II Hollywood Oaks, both returned in good order, according to their respective trainers, Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler.
Dan Ward, assistant to Hollendorfer, said Doinghardtimeagain could ship to Delaware Park for the Grade II, $300,000 Delaware Oaks July 13 or stay home to run against California breds in the $200,000 Fleet Treat Stakes July 27 at Del Mar.
The Fleet Treat is less purse money, but the race likely would be easier and give Hollendorfer an extra two weeks to prepare her.
Ward said Ciao Bella Luna, who finished fourth in the Oaks, also came out of the race well.
SPECIAL FRIDAY NIGHT PROGRAM JULY 5
Betfair Hollywood Park will have a special Friday night program July 5 in honor of the track’s 75th anniversary season.
What will be the final night card at the historic venue, which will cease racing at the end of the Autumn meet Dec. 22, was approved May 29 by the California Horse Racing Board. Post time will be 7:05 p.m.
“Hollywood Park was a pioneer for night racing and we thought this would be a good way to honor the past,’’ said Betfair Hollywood Park president Jack Liebau. “We’re looking forward to having one last Friday night.’’
A concert featuring the band 80z All Stars will be offered after the evening’s races are concluded.
CLOSING STRIDES —Get well wishes to Betfair Hollywood Park Stakes Coordinator Dan Eidson, who underwent surgery last week. Eidson is expected to be released from the hospital in the next couple of days and return to work in the racing office in about a week…….Happy birthday to former trainer Leonard Dorfman, who turned 91 Saturday. The Southern California mainstay now resides in Round Rock, Texas. Dorfman retired with 205 victories at Betfair Hollywood Park………..The single winning ticket in the Pick Six at Betfair Hollywood Park June 16 was purchased for $9,800 at Gulfstream Park and returned $556,667.60……..One ticket, wagered through Television Games Network (TVG) was alive to Blue Justice in Saturday’s ninth race and thus eligible for the bonus of a 2013 Toyota Prius – courtesy of Toyota of Orange. Blue Justice, who was 101-1, finished last in the field of 12…..Jockey Efrain Hernandez registered his first Betfair Hollywood Park victory aboard Stunning Dream for trainer Julio Canani in Thursday’s third race…….Agent Dudley Osborne advised that Orlando Mojica has returned to Indiana Downs to be closer to his young daughter. Osborne will now represent Julien Couton, who has been riding in the Bay Area. Couton has upcoming mounts lined up with, among others, trainers Mark Glatt, Steve Knapp, and Doug O’Neill.
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