The nine-furlong Cinema shapes up much like the Will Rogers, which was contested at one mile May 17. Only Will Rogers runner-up Indian Sun is missing from the Cinema lineup. Liberian Freighter, a recent first-level allowance winner for trainer Neil Drysdale, is the new face in the Cinema quintet, and the California-bred son of Bertrando can be expected to push the speedy Polonius.
Polonius gave trainer Michael Pender and owner B.J. Wright their first graded wins in the Will Rogers. The Broken Vow colt, sent off as the 17-10 favorite, set a reasonable clip with Cinema rival Tiz West offering some pressure. Polonius dug in resolutely after drifting inward during the stretch run to hold off Indian Sun by a half-length. The winning time was 1:34.95.
The Florida-bred bay has won three of his four starts on grass for Pender, who switched Polonius back to the lawn after a laboring ninth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on synthetic track April 5. Jon Court retains the ride.
Richard Mandella, whose Tiz West wound up fourth in the Will Rogers after jumping shadows twice on the final turn and drifting out in the stretch, hopes for better luck this time for his La Puente Stakes winner.
"He jumped two of the shadows from the light poles around the far turn," said Mandella, noting that Tiz West was beaten by only two lengths in spite of the trouble. "It didn't help him."
Mandella named Victor Espinoza to ride once again in the Cinema.
"I don't see any reason he wouldn't get the mile-and-an-eighth," said Mandella of the Gone West colt, a homebred owned by Gerald Ford's Diamond A Racing Corporation.
Polonius and Tiz West were each assigned top weight of 119 pounds.
Triple AAA Ranch's Ez Dreamer finished third in the Will Rogers, a head in front of Tiz West. Corey Nakatani, who unsuccessfully claimed foul against Polonius when the winner drifted in at the three-sixteenths pole, is back aboard the Arizona homebred colt by In Excess.
Ez Dreamer has a second and two third-place finishes in three turf starts for trainer Dan McFarlane and logged a pair of nine-length stakes victories on the Turf Paradise main track this year. He has not been worse than third in 11 lifetime tries, including four wins, and leads the field in earnings with $173,899.
The Irish-bred Robscarvic kicked home well in the Will Rogers while finishing 2 1/2 lengths behind Polonius. The added distance would seem a plus for the Paddy Gallagher trainee. Robscarvic has one win in six U.S. efforts since transferring from England last summer.
Liberian Freighter, winner of his last two starts and three of six lifetime, is taking a big step up here for Drysdale, who is at Royal Ascot this week. The gelding drilled 1:14 3/5 for six furlongs on grass June 15. He led all the way after breaking well from his rail post to register a 1 3/4-length win over an allowance field going 1 1/16 miles on the Hollywood turf May 18.
$150,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 3, 2:20 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Polonius (FL), 119, Jon K. Court
2. Ez Dreamer (AZ), 118, Corey S. Nakatani
3. Tiz West (KY), 119, Victor Espinoza
4. Robscarvic (IRE), 115, Joel Rosario
5. Liberian Freighter (CA), 115, Rafael Bejarano