Soul City Slew, a veteran gelding who won his first stakes when he upset the Potrero Grande Handicap (gr. II) last month, returns to Hollywood Park in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) May 16.
Trained by Jack Carava for La Canada Stables, Soul City Slew ran for a $50,000 claiming tag at Santa Anita March 22, a race he won. He came back April 4 to capture the 6 1/2-furlong Potrero Grande at odds of 11-1, rallying along the rail to post a half-length win on the Pro-Ride racing surface. Carava claimed the 6-year-old son of Slew City Slew from Doug O'Neill for $50,000 in early February.
Soul City Slew faces seven rivals in the Los Angeles, a six-furlong Cushion Track event at Hollywood, where he has won four of 13 starts.
“He’s just a cool horse -- a very, very, very nice horse,” Carava said. “Hopefully, he’ll continue to do it (win). He likes Hollywood Park, and the sprint division isn’t all that tough right now.”
A nine-time winner in 36 tries in his career, Soul City Slew will break from post 5 with Michael Baze aboard. He'll carry 116 pounds, three fewer than the top-weighted Siren Lure, another former claiming horse who would go over $1 million in career earnings if he can hit the board.
Trained by Art Sherman, the 8-year-old gelding won the Los Angeles in 2006, the year he also won the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood.
“Maybe it’s old-timers’ week,” said Sherman after entering Siren Lure May 13. He was referring to an upset victory by Ball Four in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) May 9. “It gives us hope anyway.”
The Kentucky-bred son of Joyeux Danseur has won 15 of 36 starts and earned $988,244. Siren Lure has earned most of his money for Northern California owners Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian since Sherman claimed him in his ninth start for $50,000 at Bay Meadows in May 2005. Corey Nakatani climbs aboard.
Siren Lure would join elite company with another victory. The legendary Native Diver is the only horse to win the Los Angeles Handicap twice in its 56-year history, in 1965 and as an 8-year-old in 1967. The only other 8-year-old to win the race was champion sprinter Kona Gold in 2002.
“He looks real good right now," Sherman said. "He won three in a row up north, including a stake where he beat some good horses.”
In his most recent start, Siren Lure ran fifth in the grade II San Francisco Mile on grass April 25.
Also in the field is Paul's Hope, beaten by a head for the runner-up spot in the Potrero Grande and just a half-length behind Soul City Slew in his last start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will be concentrating on Pioneerof the Nile in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico, but he also sends out Guns On the Table.
Guns On the Table, a 4-year-old chestnut colt, seeks his first stakes win, carrying 113 pounds under Tyler Baze.
The Los Angeles highlights a program that begins at 11 a.m. in conjunction with the Preakness Day simulcast from Baltimore.
Veteran jockey Alex Solis, who won the 1986 Preakness aboard Snow Chief, will ride at Hollywood Park and has a call on the Carla Gaines-trained Doppio, a nine-time winner in 22 starts.
$100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 4:40 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Guns On the Table, Tyler Baze, 113
2. Red Arrow (AUS), Joe Talamo, 114
3. Siren Lure, Corey S. Nakatani, 119
4. Doppio, Alex O. Solis, 116
5. Soul City Slew, Michael C. Baze, 116
6. Dehere Again (AUS), Aaron T. Gryder, 114
7. Northern Soldier, Victor Espinoza, 116
8. Paul's Hope, Joel Rosario, 115