(Edited Hollywood Park release)
Merv Griffin’s Cobalt Blue, winner of the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) two starts back, returns to the races in Saturday’s $75,000 Alydar Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Cobalt Blue, who broke his maiden in his first lifetime start last June, enters the 1 1/8-mile Alydar with three wins in five starts and earnings of $207,000. The victory in the grade II San Felipe earned him a start in the April 7 Illinois Derby (gr. II). Griffin and trainer Doug O’Neill considered running Cobalt Blue in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but ultimately decided to bring the son of Golden Missile back to his Hollywood Park base and point at a summer campaign.
Cobalt Blue will be ridden by Victor Espinoza and break from the outside post in the field of eight 3-year-olds.
Leesider, a son of Bertando, won the Cal National Snow Chief Stakes by a nose over C.T. Zee in his most recent start. He has two wins and two seconds in six starts for earnings of $200,200.
Level Red, tenth in the Santa Anita Derby in his last start, finished third, 3 ½ lengths behind Cobalt Blue in the San Felipe.
Pirates Deputy has earned a race-high $401,462. His victories include the Joe Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs and the Cal Breeders’ Championship at Santa Anita. He finished fifth in the Snow Chief, but was moved up to fourth.
Tap It Light, also trained by O’Neill, has won three of 12 starts for earnings of $170,787. He finished fourth in the Snow Chief after being steadied at the eighth pole and was moved up to third.
Freesgood, winner of the 2006 Cal Cup Juvenile, ran second in the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows before finishing seventh in the Snow Chief; Mostacolli Mort moved to Cushion Track after three encouraging efforts on turf, and Awesome Gambler steps up after breaking his maiden in his last start.
Field for the Alydar Stakes, in post position order, with wieght and jockey:
1--Leesider, 119, Alex Solis
2--Tap It Light, 119, Michael Baze
3--Mostacolli Mort, 117, Martin Pedroza
4--Awesome Gambler, 117, Joe Talamo
5--Pirates Deputy, 119, Richard Migliore
6--Freesgood, 119, Mike Smith
7--Level Red, 119, Aaron Gryder
8--Cobalt Blue, 123, Victor Espinoza