The Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) will be renewed Saturday at Hollywood Park, with two of the trainers with horses entered in the race having ties to the man for whom the race is named. Laura de Seroux, who was an exercise rider for the trainer from 1973-89, will saddle Startac, while Neil Drysdale, a Whittingham assistant for four years, sends out Sarafan.
Startac is winless from four races since switching to De Seroux's barn following a victory in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) on yielding turf last August while conditioned by Simon Bray. The 4-year-old son of Theatrical has finished third and second in two starts this year, including his runner-up finish to fellow Whittingham starter Skipping in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap in May.
Sarafan, meanwhile, was last of four in his most recent race, but he finished only 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner (Suances, who races in Saturday's Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park) in a tightly bunched finish. Prior to that race – the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) – Sarafan won the $700,000 Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. IIT) and finished a neck behind Decarchy in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IIT).
Trainer Bobby Frankel has entered three but is likely to start just two – Skipping and Denon. He also entered Kappa King but said that one would be scratched if both Skipping and Denon are healthy Saturday morning. Frankel, incidentally, now occupies Whittingham's long-time barn 70 North.
The field for the 1 1/4-mile turf heat will consist of:
1--Cagney, Mike Smith, 115
2--Continental Red, Patrick Valenzuela, 117
3--Spinelessjellyfish, Goncalino Almeida, 114
4--Startac, Gary Stevens, 117
5--Skipping, Kent Desormeaux, 117
6--Sarafan, Victor Espinoza, 118
7--Ringaskiddy, Eddie Delahoussaye, 118
8--Denon, Garrett Gomez, 116
9--Kappa King, Alex Solis, 113
10--Night Patrol, Jose Valdivia Jr., 113