Willcox Inn looks to wrap up his 2011 campaign with his first victory outside of Illinois when he squares off against a full field of 3-year-olds in the $250,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. I).
The race concludes the Turf Festival at Hollywood Park Nov. 27.
One of several shippers for the 1 1/4-mile event, Willcox Inn has won the Arlington Classic and American Derby (gr. IIT) at Arlington Park and the Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) at Hawthorne Park this season, and was fourth in Arlington's Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT). His only other victory in a nine-start career came in his maiden debut in an off-the-turf race over Arlington's Polytrack in September 2010.
Trained by Michael Stidham for All in Stable, the son of Harlan's Holiday makes his Southern California bow in the Hollywood Derby, the ninth race on the program with a 4:37 p.m. PST post. The card includes the $100,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds at one mile on the turf.
In his most recent start Oct. 15, the stalker Willcox Inn rallied from seventh in the Hawthorne Derby early with an inside assault. He split horses before running away from the field in the stretch to win by 4 1/2 lengths as the 11-10 favorite.
Willcox Inn, who leads the Hollywood Derby field in earnings with $480,943, drew the far outside post in the field of 12 and will be guided by regular pilot Robby Albarado.
English shipper Western Aristocrat arrives off an upset victory in the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Oct. 8.
Owned by Vinery Stables and trained by Jeremy Noseda, Western Artistocrat set a very slow pace in the nine-furlong Jamaica and held off Brilliant Speed by one length. The win was the first in a graded or group race for the son of Mr. Greeley, who won three of six starts in England prior to the Jamaica.
Corey Nakatani, the leader among riders with 14 Turf Festival victories, has the return call on Western Aristocrat, who breaks from post 4.
The field includes two others who made their most recent start in New York.
Casino Host, trained by Chad Brown for Gary and Mary West Stables, was sixth in the Jamaica last time and fifth in the Secretariat prior to that. The Dynaformer colt's best finish in a graded race was a third in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) July 16 at Colonial Downs.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who won the 2004 Hollywood Derby with Good Reward for Ogden Mills Phipps, will try for another victory with Imagining. The Giant's Causeway colt out of the A.P. Indy mare Daydreaming is bred and owned by Phipps Stable. Imagining will be aiming for his first stakes win.
Juddmonte Farms' Slumber was a winner of the James Seymour Stakes Oct. 29 at Newmarket, capturing the $48,400 race by 1 ¾ lengths.The Cacique colt makes his U.S. debut for trainer Charles Hills and Juddmonte, which has which has a record seven Turf Festivals wins.
Ultimate Eagle and Venomous, who finished a half-length apart when first and second in the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) Oct. 15 at Santa Anita, will renew acquaintances Sunday.
Trained by Mike Pender for owner B.J. Wright, Ultimate Eagle has won three in a row after losing the first three races of his career. The Mizzen Mast colt led throughout at 34-1 in the Oak Tree Derby.
Now in the barn of Leonard Powell for owner Magalen Bryant, British-bred Venomous flew late after trailing much of the way in the Oak Tree Derby, which was in his U.S. debut. The son of Red Ransom raced previously in France, winning three of 12 with six placings.
Recent Southern California arrival Cozy Kitten, beaten by just a length while third in the Oak Tree Derby, will be making his grade I debut for owner-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Wesley Ward. The Kitten's Joy gelding won the Franklin Simpson Stakes Sept. 17 at Kentucky Downs.
Cloud Man, who has been second or third in three previous races over the Hollywood Park turf course, enters off a fifth in the Oak Tree Derby. The Thunder Gulch colt was a close fourth in tbe Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) for owner-breeders Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs.
Trainer Dermot Weld ships in Irish-bred Blue White Fire for the Generous. Moyglare Stud Farm's son of Montjueu has won once in four starts and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the one-mile Juddmonte Beresford Stakes (Ire-II) at the Curragh Sept. 25.
Senor Rain will make his turf debut and try to give trainer Peter Miller and owner Gary Barber consecutive wins in the Generous. Miller and Barber were successful a year ago with Comma to the Top.
An El Nino ridgling, Senor Rain will be making his second start of the meet, having finished third in the Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 12. The Indiana bred is 2-for-6 for Barber, who owns the chestnut in partnership with his brother Cecil.
The Barbers are also represented by Stoney Fleece, who is trained by John Sadler. The son of Decarchy has won two of four starts since being claimed for $40,000 by Sadler for the Barbers out of a debut victory July 28 at Del Mar. One of those wins came at the Generous distance in his initial try on turf Oct. 15 at Santa Anita.
Miller also entered Got Even, a 4 ¼-length starter allowance winner Nov. 13 over Cushion Track. The Stephen Got Even gelding is owned by a partnership that includes Altamira Racing, Bruce Chandler, Jeff Fink, and Marc Limeda.
$100,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 5, 2:34 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Handsome Mike (KY), R Bejarano, 116, M Conlon
2. Blue White Fire (IRE), G K Gomez, 116, D K Weld
3. Motown Men (CA), B Blanc, 116, D F O'Neill
4. Senor Rain (IN), M Garcia, 118, P Miller
5. Got Even (CA), D P Vergara, 116, P Miller
6. Major Magic (KY), J Talamo, 116, N D Drysdale
7. Battle Force (KY), M E Smith, 118, J A Shirreffs
8. Stoney Fleece (CA), J Rosario, 118, J W Sadler
9. Devil in Disguise (KY), M Gutierrez, 118, T Taylor
Blinkers On: Motown Men, Senor Rain, Major Magic
$250,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT, Race 9, 4:37 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Cloud Man (KY), M E Smith, J A Shirreffs
2. Imagining (KY), J Castellano, C R McGaughey III
3. Slumber (GB), G K Gomez, C Hills
4. Western Aristocrat (KY), C S Nakatani, J Noseda
5. Casino Host (KY), J Talamo, C C Brown
6. Venomous (GB), J Rosario, L Powell
7. Surrey Star (IRE), C Sutherland, J M Cassidy
8. El Pocho (CHI), H I Berrios, R Cardenas
9. Irish Art (KY), R Bejarano, C Gaines
10. Cozy Kitten (KY), A Quinonez, W A Ward
11. Ultimate Eagle (KY), M A Pedroza, M Pender
12. Willcox Inn (KY), R Albarado, M Stidham
All assigned 122 pounds.