(edited press release)
Robert and Janice McNair’s Cowboy Cal , runner-up here last fall in the Hollywood Derby (gr. I), will try to bounce back from a 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) in Hollywood Park’s $300,000 Citation Handicap on Nov. 27.
The Citation will run as the ninth of 10 races on Friday’s program at Hollywood Park. First post is at 12:30 p.m.
Cowboy Cal tired after vying for the lead in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Two starts back the 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway scored a front-running victory in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IT).
A winner of five of 12 starts on the turf, Cowboy Cal is the 120-pound highweight in the Citation, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on opening day of Hollywood Park’s three-day Turf Festival. He has won seven of 18 starts overall and has earned $1,001,810.
Cowboy Cal will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano for the first time in the field of 10 older horses.
Monzante, from the Mike Mitchell stable along with Ever a Friend, will be shortening up after finishing sixth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) at 1 ½ miles. The 5-year-old gelding had a big year on turf in 2008, finishing second here in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) before winning Del Mar’s Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT).
Ever a Friend won an allowance race at Santa Anita Nov. 5 following an 18-month layoff. Claimed for $62,500 in December of 2007, he won the Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) in March and finished second here in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) in 2008.
German-bred Proudinsky is the richest horse in the race with earnings of $1,117,953. The 6-year-old won the Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) in 2008 and 2009 at the Fair Grounds. Winner of six of 20 starts — all on turf — he will be making his first start since finishing third in the Monmouth Stakes in June.
Proudinsky and Fluke will be saddled by long-time Bobby Frankel assistant Humberto Ascanio, who officially took over the Hall of Fame trainer’s 22-horse Hollywood Park stable after his death Nov. 16.
Brazilian-bred Fluke, a 4-year-old, has finished first or second in seven of nine turf starts. He rallied to win a one-mile allowance race Sept. 18 at Belmont Park while making his most recent start.
French-bred Blue Chagall steps up to graded company in quest of his third straight victory after capturing the one-mile Lure at Santa Anita.
Argentine-bred Skyrush finished fourth behind Cowboy Cal in the Oak Tree Mile; Enriched shifts to turf following a second in the On Trust Handicap, and Times Gone By enters following a fourth-place finish in the nine-furlong Clement Hirsch (gr. IT) at Santa Anita in October.
PP – Horse – Wgt – Jockey
1 – Fluke – 113 – Joe Talamo
2 – Skyrush – 114 – Martin Pedroze
3 – Proudinsky – 119 – Mike Smith
4 – Blue Chagall – 115 – Garrett Gomez
5 – Ever a Friend – 118 – Joel Rosario
6 – Cowboy Cal – 120 – Rafael Bejarano
7 – El Gato Malo – 114 – David Flores
8 – Enriched – 110 – Michael Baze
9 – Monzante – 116 – Alex Solis
10 – Times Gone By – 113 – Alonso Quinonez