The Usual Q. T., winner of the 2009 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), returns to Hollywood Park on Easter Sunday, April 24, for the $100,000 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) against five rivals.
The 1 1/16-mile turf event also attracted Liberian Freighter, who makes a quick turnaround after capturing the Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita April 9, as well Jeranimo, who ran third in the Arcadia.
The Inglewood, the only graded stakes in the nation on Easter, is the seventh of nine races on the card and is expected to go off at 4:05 p.m. PDT.
The Usual Q. T. has been off since developing an abscess in a foot following a runner-up effort in the Sunshine Millions Turf Jan. 29 at Santa Anita. Trainer Jim Cassidy was on the fence right up until entry time before deciding to enter the 5-year-old California-bred son of Unusual Heat in the Inglewood.
Cassidy told Daily Racing Form that the gelding's fitness level is “about 75 percent.”
A lifetime earner of $1,483,240, the multiple grade I-winning The Usual Q. T. has eight wins and 16 in-the-money performances in 20 starts for owners Don Van Kempen and Michael Nentwig.
Cassidy hopes to see The Usual Q.T. run well enough in the Inglewood to use the race as a prep for the $150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT) over a mile on turf on May 28.
The Usual Q. T. was assigned top weight of 122 pounds and will have regular rider Victor Espinoza aboard. They are to break from post 5.
Liberian Freighter went all the way on the front end to produce a half-length upset at odds of 9-1 in the one-mile Arcadia. The 6-year-old California-bred son of Bertrando owns four wins on the Hollywood turf, including the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) last October at 22-1.
Neil Drysdale trains the dark bay gelding for his wife Shawn Dugan, Charles Winner and the estate of Ed Nahem, whose King Edward Racing Stable bred him. Liberian Freighter has won nine of 26 races while earning $673,740. Martin Garcia retains the mount.
Jeranimo was three-quarters of a length behind Liberian Freighter in the Arcadia after rallying from off the pace to just miss the runner-up spot.
The 5-year-old Congaree horse captured the San Gabriel Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Dec. 27. That came after Jeranimo won an allowance over grade I winner Fluke on the Hollywood lawn a month earlier in his only prior try over the surface.
“He has proven in the past that he likes to come off a short break and he’s doing well,” said trainer Michael Pender.
Owned by B.J. Wright, Jeranimo has won five of 18 races while banking $504,400. Rafael Bejarano is aboard once more.
Marsha Naify's Irish-bred Ryehill Dreamer won an Oak Tree optional claiming allowance race at Hollywood last October for his first win in the United States. The 5-year-old is coming off a 4 1/2-length high-priced allowance at Santa Anita at 1 1/8 miles for trainer Julio Canani. Joel Rosario has the call.
Kelly Leak, winner of the 2009 Sunland Derby, has won two of eight starts on grass for trainer Mike Machowsky. The 5-year-old Runaway Groom gelding makes his first start around two turns on grass since finishing seventh in the San Francisco Mile (gr. IIT) at Golden Gate Fields one year ago.
A winner of three of seven on dirt, 4-year-old Honour the Deputy will be making his grass debut for Barnett Stables, Mark DeDomenico and George Todaro. Jerry Hollendorfer trains.
Hollywood Park will offer an Easter Brunch buffet in the Turf Club.
$100,000 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 7, 4:05 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Liberian Freighter (CA), M Garcia, 120, N D Drysdale
2. Honour the Deputy (FL), J Talamo, 115, J Hollendorfer
3. Ryehill Dreamer (IRE), J Rosario, 115, J C Canani
4. Kelly Leak (FL), M A Pedroza, 114, M Machowsky
5. The Usual Q. T. (CA), V Espinoza, 122, J M Cassidy
6. Jeranimo (FL), R Bejarano, 120, M Pender