Eleven colts and geldings are entered for the $500,000 Hollywood Derby. Each carries 122 pounds. Nobiz Like Shobiz starts from post position eight.
Winner of the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct prior to a 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands (gr. I), Elizabeth Valando's homebred Nobiz Like Shobiz has responded well since being switched to grass by Tagg for his past four starts.
Nobiz Like Shobiz reeled off consecutive graded stakes wins at Saratoga, Delaware and Belmont before finishing fourth in his last start in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) on a soft Monmouth Park course Oct. 27. He was beaten by 2 1/4 lengths.
The Kentucky-bred son of Albert the Great has won seven of 12 starts and earned $1,544,730.
Tagg won last year's Hollywood Derby with Showing Up. The Kentucky Derby-winning conditioner was being represented at Hollywood Park by his assistant, Robin Smullen, who oversaw Nobiz Like Shobiz's first workout over the Hollywood Park turf Nov. 21. The bay colt breezed a half-mile in 50 3/5.
“He went great,” said Smullen. "Barclay just wanted him to get a feel of the course. He went the last quarter in 23 and change and galloped out an eighth in 12 flat. He came back bucking and squealing after the work. I was pleased.”
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was up for the work, pinch-hitting for New York-based Javier Castellano, who has the call in the Hollywood Derby. “Dynamite,” said Smith of the work.
“Nobiz Like Shobiz and Showing Up are a lot alike,” said Smullen. “They’re easy to deal with, easy to gallop. They’re both laid back and very competitive. We’re lucky to have two horses that nice in consecutive years.”
Also in from New York is Bold Hawk, winner of the Hawthorne Derby (gr. III) in his fifth start on Oct. 13.
“He came off the van trying to annihilate the groom, a good sign,” said Dana Antonczak, assistant and exercise rider for trainer Jim Toner, after jogging the gelding on Cushion Track on Nov. 21. “He’s aggressive and getting more confident with each race."
“He towers over everything,” said Antonczak of the strapping gelding. “He’s huge. He fills up the stall. We custom order a special head bumper for him. Everything is extra-large for him.”
Antonczak said Bold Hawk, a Kentucky-bred by Silver Hawk, got his size from his mother, Tribulation.
“She was huge too,” said Antonczak of the mare, who won the 1993 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland for Toner and jockey Jean-Luc Samyn, who will ride Bold Hawk Sunday.
Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) victor Daytona, Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) conqueror Medici Code and multiple graded winner Worldly head the local contingent.
In his first graded stakes start, Daytona surprised many when he romped to a 4 1/4-length win at Santa Anita for trainer Dan Hendricks. The Irish-bred gelding has won twice in six U.S. starts after beginning his career racing on synthetic surfaces in England.
Besides the Del Mar Derby, Medici Code also won the La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) at the seaside track this summer for trainer Darrell Vienna. But the gelding was subsequently disqualified from purse money because a post-race blood sample revealed the presence of clenbuterol exceeding the allowable limit in his system.
Worldly, who captured the Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) and Cinema Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood lawn last spring, gained the $90,000 winning share in the La Jolla after finishing second. Worldly finished third in the Del Mar Derby.
Medici Code returned from his win in the Del Mar Derby to be fifth in the Indiana Derby (gr. II) on the dirt at Hoosier Park last month. He starts from the far outside post.
$500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT, Race 8, 4:05 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Warning Zone (VA), Jose Valdivia, Jr.
2. Twilight Meteor (ON), Garrett K. Gomez
3. Daytona (IRE), Mike E. Smith
4. Patch of Blue (KY), Alex O. Solis
5. Bold Hawk (KY), Jean-Luc Samyn
6. Worldly (GB), Victor Espinoza
7. Augment (KY), David R. Flores
8. Nobiz Like Shobiz (KY), Javier Castellano
9. Ten a Penny (KY), Michael C. Baze
10. Mostacolli Mort (KY), Tyler Baze
11. Medici Code (GB), Martin A. Pedroza
Each assigned 122 pounds.