A pair of highly promising 2-year-olds, multiple stakes winner Toccet from the East and locally-based Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Kafwain, are set to clash in Saturday's 22nd running of the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park.
Kafwain, whose trainer, Bob Baffert, has saddled three of the last five Futurity champions, is expected to be a slight favorite among six entrants in the 1 1/16-mile event that will carry an estimated purse of $375,000.
Dan Borislow, the owner of Toccet, recently purchased ads in the Daily Racing Form challenging Padua Stables, owners of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Vindication, to run their horse in the Futurity while offering to wager $200,000 against $100,000 on the outcome. But with Baffert freshening Vindication, the offer generated little more than publicity.
Borislow feels Toccet is worthy of consideration for the year's juvenile championship should he win the Futurity. The bay son of Awesome Again has won five of seven starts including three graded stakes. But he ran poorly in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile when compromised by starting from the outside post in a field of 13.
While the unbeaten and vacationing Vindication is more accomplished than Kafwain, Baffert has had a difficult time separating the pair. Kafwain, a Kentucky-bred son of Cherokee Run, has registered graded stakes victories in the Norfolk (gr. II) at Santa Anita and the Best Pal (gr. III) at Del Mar. His record of three wins, two seconds and a third in seven starts for The Thoroughbred Corp. has amounted to earnings of $511,458. Regular rider Victor Espinoza will be aboard.
Toccet, trained by John Scanlan, has earned $511,710 for Borislow. A streak of five victories by a combined 29 1/2 lengths sandwich his debacle behind Vindication and Kafwain in the Breeders' Cup event at Arlington Park. Should Toccet win the Futurity, his four graded stakes wins in races at 1 1/16 miles or over would be unprecedented by a 2-year-old. Toccet is ridden by Eastern-based Jorge Chavez, who ranks fifth nationally in earnings.
With the prospect of an off-track on Saturday, neither Baffert nor Scanlan was particularly concerned. Kafwain is bred to handle an off-track. Toccet won the Laurel Futurity by 6 1/4 lengths over a sloppy surface.
According to trainer Rafael Becerra, Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) winner Roll Hennessy Roll would benefit from an off-track. "He should have no problem with a sloppy track," Becerra said of the son of Hennessy who won the Prevue by four lengths on Nov. 23. Roll Hennessy Roll has won 4 of 5 starts for earnings of $140,028. Two of his wins were over off-tracks.
In addition to Kafwain, Baffert entered Domestic Dispute, who defeated Roll Hennessy Roll when second in Santa Anita's Sunny Slope Stakes.
Two of Baffert's recent Futurity winners have gone on to capture Triple Crown races. Point Given (2000) took last year's Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Real Quiet (1997) won the following year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Real Quiet is among five Futurity participants who subsequently won the Kentucky Derby.
TVG will present live coverage of the Hollywood Futurity on its program "Trackside Live!: Hollywood Park." The Futurity will be simulcast on Fox Sports Net West 2. "Trackside Live! Hollywood Park" airs from 3:00-5:00 p.m. (PT). Post time for the Futurity is expected to be 4:37 p.m. (PT).$375,000-estimate Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), 2 year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Kafwain, Victor Espinoza
2. Domestic Dispute, David Flores
3. Logician, Mike Smith
4. Coax Kid, Patrick Valenzuela
5. Roll Hennessy Roll, Alex Solis
6. Toccet, Jorge Chavez.
All carry 121 pounds.Frankel Enters Tates Creek, Surya in Dahlia Handicap
Eleven fillies and mares were entered in a companion feature on Saturday, the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Bobby Frankel, some $360,000 shy of the earnings record for a trainer of $17,842,358 set by D. Wayne Lukas in 1988, entered a pair. The race offers $90,000 to the winner: Tates Creek, the 122-pound high weight, and Surya, third high weight at 118 pounds.
A 4-year-old filly owned by Juddmonte Farms, Tates Creek has won 8 of 12 starts with a pair of seconds for earnings of $767,607. She has won four of her last five including the Las Palmas Handicap (gr. II) in her most recent at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. Valenzuela would be aboard Tates Creek, if she goes, for the first time.
At Santa Anita Thursday, trainer Ron McAnally worked Dahlia Handicap candidates Alozaina and Tout Charmant four furlongs in :47.80 breezing and :51.60, respectively.$150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares, 1 1/6 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Tout Charmant, Alex Solis, 119
2. Terna, Jose Valdivia Jr., 110
3. Honestly Darling, no rider, 114
4. Alozaina, Victor Espinoza, 115
5. Tates Creek, Patrick Valenzuela, 122
6. Miss Gazon, Jorge Chavez, 113
7. Double Cat, Mike Smith, 113
8. Surya, Marco Ramirez, 118
9. I'm The Business, Corey Nakatani, 114
10. Top Of Our Game, Luis Jauregui, 113
11. Reine De Romance, Julie Krone, 115