Private Chef, unbeaten but seemingly unconvincing, will seek his third victory and some appreciation on Sunday in Hollywood Park's $200,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
After winning his debut in a dead heat at odds of 10-1, the gelded Maryland-bred was sent off at odds of 6-1 in the Will Rogers Handicap (gr. IIIT) on May 25. Private Chef prevailed by one length and that victory may accord him favoritism among eight entrants in the Cinema.
With Victor Espinoza back aboard following the Will Rogers, Private Chef will have to contend with Just Wonder. British-bred Just Wonder is coming off a two-length triumph as the 9-10 choice in the May 10 Ascot Handicap at Bay Meadows. Kent Desormeaux has returned from a riding stint in Japan to be aboard the son of Hernando for trainer Laura de Seroux.
Trained by John Shirreffs, Private Chef has earned $86,760 with his two victories. Just Wonder, who began his career with two races in France, has won three of his six starts for earnings of $108,997.
A field of eight sophomores has entered the Cinema, with Devote, to be ridden by David Flores, assigned top weight of 119 pounds. Private Chef and Just Wonder carry 117 pounds apiece.
Ender's Shadow, who will be ridden by Alex Solis at 114 pounds, appears to be improving dramatically for trainer Jenine Sahadi. It took the Kentucky-bred son of A. P. Indy four races to break his maiden, but he followed that win with another under allowance conditions on June 4. The Cinema will mark the first start on grass for the bay colt owned and bred by Green Lantern Stables.$200,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1. Slew City Citadel, Patrick Valenzuela, 114
2. Bis Repetitas, Jose Valdivia Jr., 114
3. Devote, David Flores, 119
4. Royal Place, Goncalino Almeida, 113
5. Private Chef, Victor Espinoza, 117
6. Helms Deep, Corey Nakatani, 113
7. Just Wonder, Kent Desormeaux, 117
8. Ender's Shadow, Alex Solis, 114