The $8.5 million stakes schedule for the meeting that begins April 23 will once again feature the track’s richest events on back-to-back weekends. The 69th running of the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) will be run on June 28. Lava Man equaled legendary Native Diver with his third consecutive victory in the 1 1/4-mile classic a year ago.
Hollywood Park’s 70th anniversary meeting will feature 55 stakes races, including seven grade I events. There are 11 grade II races and 11 grade III stakes. There will be seven major stakes days during the 12-week meet, beginning with the $1.3 million Cal National Gold Rush IX on April 27.
The American Oaks and CashCall Mile, which have drawn some of the world’s most talented fillies and mares in recent years, will help comprise one of the most dramatic programs in track history. The July 5 card will include two other grade I races in the $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap and the $300,000 Vanity Handicap, as well as the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III). The Oaks, CashCall Mile and Triple Bend are invitational events.
“Outside of Breeders’ Cup, it is the most prize money we have offered on a single day in track history,” said Martin Panza, vice president of racing. “We’ve already had considerable interest from Australia and we expect continued interest from Europe and Japan as well as nationwide.”
Gold Cup Day will feature four stakes, three of them graded. The $250,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT), the A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) and the Landaluce Stakes will also be contested.
Memorial Day on May 26 will once again feature one of the nation’s most prominent races with the 65th running of the $250,000-added Shoemaker Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT). The Tin Man equaled the great John Henry as the only 9-year-old to win a grade I race at Hollywood Park when he captured the turf event in 2007. The Shoemaker will have company in the $250,000 Gamely Handicap (gr. I), which has been won by six champions.
The prestigious Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) will once again be presented on Belmont Stakes Day June 7. The Whittingham, at 1 1/4 miles on the Lakeside Turf Course, will be accompanied by the $175,000-added Honeymoon Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II), the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) and the $75,000-added Redondo Beach Stakes.
A new race on the schedule is the $100,000-added Gallant Man, which will be staged at 1 5/8ths miles on June 1. The Gallant Man could fit the agenda of horses being aimed for the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Marathon.
The wall-to-wall 2008 stakes schedule begins with the $100,000-added Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) on opening day and concludes with the $150,000-added Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) on closing day July 13.