INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 7, 2009) — Unbeaten Rail Trip will try to stretch his unbeaten streak to six when he carries high weight of 119 pounds in Saturday’s 30th running of the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Rail Trip, owned by Jay Em Ess Stable and trained by Ron Ellis, had a chip taken out of an ankle as a 2-year-old and did not start until late in his 3-year-old year, but he is quickly making up for lost time.
The 4-year-old son of Jump Start cruised to a 3 ½-length victory here in his career debut in November and has not looked back. His most recent win came when he prevailed by a nose over fellow Mervyn LeRoy starter Dakota Phone in the Santana Mile Handicap on April 4 at Santa Anita Park.
Rail Trip has set the pace in each of his races with the exception of his second start here in December.
“He would rate if somebody else wanted to go,” Ellis said after he breezed five furlongs in a minute flat last week. “That was why I had him set behind a horse today.”
Rail Trip will break from the four-post in the Grade II Mervyn LeRoy, which will line up as follows from the rail out:
Dakota Phone, with Rafael Bejarano up, will carry 117 pounds; Fire Wood, Tyler Baze, 113; Ball Four, Joe Talamo, 118; Rail Trip, Jose Valdivia Jr., 119; Unusual Suspect, Joel Rosario, 113, and Aggie Engineer, Alex Solis, 113.
Ball Four, who set the pace in the 2008 Native Diver Handicap before settling for third as Slew’s Tizzy set a Cushion Track record for 1 1/8 miles, also figures to be prominent throughout the 1 1/16-mile Mervyn LeRoy.
Dakota Phone, who fell just short in the Santana Mile after finishing fourth in the San Antonio Handicap, will once again be among the closers in the Mervyn LeRoy, the first major Hollywood Park race en route to the $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11.
Unusual Suspect is the richest horses in the field with earnings of $622,592. The 5-year-old son of Unusual Heat has won seven of 33 starts for owner-trainer Barry Abrams. He shifts to the main track after finishing third while making his most recent start in the Sunshine Millions Turf in January.
Fire Wood, claimed for $32,000 in January, enters following a fourth-place finish in the Tokyo City Handicap, while Aggie Engineer steps up to stakes company after winning three of his first six starts.
The Mervyn LeRoy will run as the eighth race on Saturday’s nine-race program at Hollywood Park.
First post time is at 1 p.m.
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