McCann's Mojave, a 5-year-old whose first race beyond one mile resulted in a game triumph in last month's $250,000 California Cup Classic, will carry co-high weight of 118 pounds among ten entrants in Saturday's $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.
The Native Diver, at 1 1/8 miles, could establish a major player among California-based horses in next year's West Coast handicap division. Two-time grade I winner Borrego and Giacomo, the returning 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner, are pegged as the current leaders.
Stretched out to 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Nov. 6 Cal Cup event at Santa Anita, the noted sprinter McCann's Mojave responded with a one-length victory over Desert Boom while leading for the entire journey. It was the seventh career win in 15 starts for the bay son of Memo who has earned $555,380 for owner-breeders Nikki Hunt and Mike Willman. Jose Valdivia Jr. rides for trainer Paddy Gallagher.
Also assigned 118 pounds were Preachinatthebar and No Giveaway. The latter staged a dramatic upset at odds of 60-1 when rallying to win this year's Longacres Mile Handicap (gr. III) at Emerald Downs. Preachinatthebar, a 4-year-old who captured last year's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert, returned from a short layoff to win an allowance event at Hollywood Park on Nov. 9.
Owned by Mike Pegram, Preachinatthebar was considered a serious Triple Crown contender last year before faltering in the Bluegrass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland in April. He subsequently went to the sidelines for nearly eight months. The gray son of Silver Charm returned in March and has won four of eight starts. Preachinatthebar has earned $395,753 from six wins in 19 career starts.
Trained by Grant Forster for Herman Sarkowsky, 4-year-old No Giveaway has posted a 6-3-1 record in 11 races for earnings of $217,886. The chestnut Washington bred has never raced beyond one mile, but has a closing style that suggests he might relish the added distance.
Chilean-bred Trotamondo is expected to draw considerable attention. A four-time stakes winner in his native country including three group I races, the 4-year-old Laura de Seroux trainee rallied boldly when finishing second in his U.S. debut, an allowance contest over 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park on Nov. 9.$100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 4:05 p.m.), 3 & up, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Coronado's Pride (KY), 114, Jon K. Court
2. Bully Hayes (KY), 114, Alex O. Solis
3. Spellbinder (KY), 116, Martin A. Pedroza
4. Keep On Punching (KY), 113, Tyler Baze
5. Trotamondo (CHI), 117, Garrett K. Gomez
6. McCann's Mojave (CA), 118, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
7. Courtly Jazz (KY), 116, David Cohen
8. No Giveaway (WA), 118, David R. Flores
9. Preachinatthebar (KY), 118, Victor Espinoza
10. Saint Buddy (FL), 115, Patrick A. Valenzuela