Hollywood Futurity Trainers Doing Rain Dance

Hollywood Futurity Trainers Doing Rain Dance
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Toccet, among favorites for Hollywood Futurity.
(From track report)
A forecast of rain Friday and an off track Saturday brought rain-dance whoops from Maryland to California in the barns of John Scanlan and Rafael Becerra, trainers of Toccet and Roll Hennessy Roll, respectively, as they await Saturday's $375,000-estimated Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 mile.

Both colts have recorded impressive stakes victories on sloppy tracks.

"I hope it rains," said Becerra Wednesday. "I think he can handle it. He should have no problem with a sloppy track."

Roll Hennessy Roll rolled to a 6 ½-length victory on a sloppy track in the Ruidoso Thoroughbred Futurity in New Mexico Sept. 2 before he was transferred to Becerra in California by owner Stan Fulton and won the Hollywood Prevue Stakes here by four lengths Nov. 23.

"All systems are go," said Becerra, rain or shine. "He worked six furlongs here Saturday. I had him in 1:12 4/5. He galloped out in 1:26 and change. I was happy with the way he finished."

At Laurel, Maryland, Scanlan prepared to ship multiple stakes winner Toccet west Thursday on a flight from Baltimore. "Any chance of rain?" asked the trainer. "He would like that. I'll do a rain dance here."

Toccet drew off to win the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) by 6 ½ lengths on a sloppy Laurel surface at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 16. Toccet also won the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont on Oct. 5 and the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30 to stamp himself the top 2-year-old colt in the East.

A field of five or six is shaping up for the Futurity. Considered probable are Toccet (Jorge Chavez), Roll Hennessy Roll (Alex Solis), Kafwain (Victor Espinoza) and Coax Kid (Patrick Valenzuela). Considered possible are Ghostzapper or Peace Rules from the Frankel barn and Hell Cat, third-place finisher in the Prevue. All starters will carry 121 pounds.

Trainer Bobby Frankel was uncertain Wednesday of whether to supplement Ghostzapper Thursday for $10,000.

"It all depends on the weather," said Frankel of Futurity plans. Ghostzapper has only raced once, breaking his maiden at first asking by nine lengths at 6 ½ furlongs here Nov. 16. Peace Rules won the Generous Stakes (gr. III) on the turf here Nov. 30.

Doug O'Neill, the meet's training leader with 15 victories, said that Coax Kid was definite.

"He just worked once since he broke his maiden here in his fourth start, but he's been training unbelievable," said O'Neill.

"Coax Kid acts like he will run all day," said O'Neill of the Kissin Kris colt purchased for $140,000 at the March Barretts Sale for Royce Jaime of Alhambra. "In his first start here, the track was off, and he acted like he handled it fine."

O'Neill admits, however, that it is asking a lot of Coax Kid to finish in front of either Kafwain or Toccet, two proven colts. "I was in Maryland the day Toccet won the Laurel Futurity," said O'Neill, who said he was impressed. "Even getting a piece of the Futurity would be a dream."

Jack Carava, trainer of Hell Cat, said he would confer with Texas owner Joe Bradford before deciding on whether to supplement the colt, who finished strongly in the Prevue. Martin Pedroza has the tentative call.

Kafwain, winner of the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile for trainer Bob Baffert, is the only Futurity probable who would not need to be supplemented.

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