Whatsthescript, a 29-1 upset winner a year ago, will carry high weight of 120 pounds as he defends his title in the $150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Independence Day program at Hollywood Park.
The American, which is the eighth race on the July 4 card, drew a field of six.
The Irish-bred Whatsthescript, owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and trained by John Sadler, will be making his second start of the year in the American, which is contested at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Whatsthescript finished fourth in his season debut on Memorial Day, beaten less than one length in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT).
Whatsthescript, a 5-year-old horse by Royal Applause, has won six of 15 starts for earnings of $829,964. He is looking for his first victory since capturing the Del Mar Mile (gr. IIT) in August, which preceded a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita. The bay also won the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood as a 2-year-old.
Third in the Shoemaker Mile by just a neck, Storm Military will be aiming to turn the tables on Whatsthescript in the American. Last year, the Bobby Frankel trainee finished second, beaten by 1 1/4 lengths.
Storm Military turned in an impressive performance in the Shoemaker. The 7-year-old stalked winner Thorn Song throughout while three wide and finished strongly in a three-horse photo. He enters the American with eight wins in 21 starts for earnings of $380,482.
Five-year-old Monterey Jazz stretches out an extra furlong after breaking the 15-year-old Hollywood turf mile mark in a conditioned allowance race May 24 for trainer Craig Dollase. He was timed in 1:32.59 in winning gate-to-wire by 3 3/4 lengths.
A winner of seven of 18 starts and $580,880, Monterey Jazz won the Sir Beaufort (gr. IIIT) on turf in his final start as a sophomore, then scored in his 4-year-old debut in the Strub (gr. II) on synthetic at Santa Anita. Four of his victories have come on grass courses.
Artiste Royal, an 8-year-old from the Neil Drysdale stable, will shorten up after finishing third in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) at 1 1/4 miles on turf in June. A winner of seven of 31 starts, each of his three North American wins have come at 10 furlongs — the 2007 Clement L. Hirsch (gr. IT), the 2008 Whittingham (gr. IT) and the 2009 San Marcos (gr. IIT). The Irish-bred enters the American with a bankroll of $931,790.
Giant Gem, also trained by Drysdale, steps up after an allowance win on turf by three-quarters of a length over American Handicap foe Buenos Dias. The latter is an Irish-bred owned by Charles Cella who was making his North American debut in the June 4 race.
$150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 MIles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Buenos Dias (IRE), J Talamo, 113, R L McAnally
2. Storm Military (ARG), B Blanc, 117, R J Frankel
3. Giant Gem (KY), A O Solis, 114, N D Drysdale
4. Monterey Jazz (KY), T Baze, 119, C Dollase
5. Whatsthescript (IRE), J Rosario, 120, J W Sadler
6. Artiste Royal (IRE), R Bejarano, 118, N D Drysdale