Irish-bred Ashkal Way, a winner of five of six starts in the U.S., makes his Hollywood Park debut Friday in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IT) to kick off the 15th Turf Festival.
Ashkal Way, a 4-year-old owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, will be ridden by Garrett Gomez in the 1 1/16-mile event over the Lakeside Turf Course. He enters the Citation following back-to-back victories in grade II races in New York – the Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga and the Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park.
Garrett Gomez, the nation's leading jockey (money won), is three-for-three aboard the chestnet gelding. A winner of seven of 15 starts overall for earnings of $513,349, Ashkal Way will break from the 11-post in the field of 12.
Becrux, an Italian-bred owned by Team Valor and Gary Barber, won the Woodbine Mile (Can-I) in his most recent start. The Neil Drysdale-trainee has won three of 11 starts in North America and is eight-for-19 overall with earnings of $834,276.
Sweet Return, a 6-year-old chestnut horse owned by Red Oak Farm and trained by Ron McAnally, is the richest horse in the Citation with earnings of $1,693,347. He won the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) in 2003 and the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) over the course in 2005. He also won the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) two years ago and finished second in the Read this year behind the now retired Aragorn.
Three Valleys, a group I winner in Great Britain at 2, has two graded wins in the U.S. – the 2005 Del Mar Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) and the 2006 Oceanport (Gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park. The 5-year-old is trained by Bobby Frankel, who has saddled a record 15 Turf Festival winners, including Al Mamoon (1986) and Leroidesanimaux in the Citation.
Rob Roy, a winner of two group races in Great Britain for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, makes his second North American start after finishing fifth, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
Japanese-bred Silent Name, a son of Sunday Silence, finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Mile, beaten 3 ½ lengths after leading into the stretch. The 4-year-old began his career in France, winning three of nine starts. Since moving to Gary Mandella's Hollywood Park-based stable, he has won two of six races including the Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) in April. Whilly, who finished third in the War Chant at Oak Tree in his first start since running 11th in the Dubai Duty Free in March, won the 2005 American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood for trainer Doug O'Neill and owner Triple B Farms. He is eight-for-22 lifetime, with earnings of $913,348.
Graded stakes winner Cosmonaut enters following fourths in the Man O' War (gr. IT) at Belmont Park and the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland. Edgar Prado comes west to ride.
The Generous Stakes (gr. III) joins the Citation on the matinee program. The Generous will be run in two nine-horse divisions carded as the third and seventh races.
Quietly Mine aims for his third straight victory for trainer Christophe Clement in the first division of the one-mile Generous, while Barretts Juvenile and Real Quiet Stakes winner Roman Commander shifts to the turf in the second division.
$400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IT, Race 9, 4:35 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Hendrix (KY), 114, David R. Flores
2. Rob Roy (KY), 119, Corey S. Nakatani
3. Stormin Away (FL), 113, Martin Garcia
4. Silent Name (JPN), 116, Victor Espinoza
5. Becrux (ITY), 119, Patrick A. Valenzuela
6. Whilly (IRE), 117, David Cohen
7. Courtnall (KY), 115, Alex Bisono
8. Cosmonaut (KY), 116, Edgar S. Prado
9. Bravo Maestro (KY), 113, Tyler Baze
10. Sweet Return (GB), 116, Alex O. Solis
11. Ashkal Way (IRE), 119, Garrett K. Gomez
12. Three Valleys (KY), 117, Ramon A. Dominguez