Trainer Julio Canani ended the suspense Sunday by announcing that Special Ring would remain at Hollywood Park to run in the $150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT) Friday rather than ship to Kentucky for the $250,000 Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
"This horse is very fragile in the head, and I don't need to put him on a plane," explained Canani of his decision. "He's doing good here."
Special Ring, a 6-year-old gelding, returned from a nine-month layoff to finish second in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) May 26 and has reeled off a series of sharp works since.
A lineup of at least five is shaping up for the Grade II test at 1 1/8 miles on turf: Candy Ride, Gary Stevens, 120 pounds; Special Ring, David Flores, 118; Sunday Break, Corey Nakatani, 117; Mister Acpen, Victor Espinoza, 116, and Irish Warrior, Alex Solis, 114.
Sunday Break worked six furlongs on turf in 1:17.40 Sunday for trainer Neil Drysdale.