Mile Winner Val Royal To Run In Citation Handicap

Mile Winner Val Royal To Run In Citation Handicap
Photo:
Val Royal winning the Breeders' Cup Mile.
From Hollywood Park
Val Royal, winner of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship Mile in his last start Oct. 27 at Belmont Park, will run in the $500,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park Saturday, trainer Julio Canani confirmed.

"He worked a half-mile (in :49.40 breezing) at Santa Anita Tuesday morning (under regular rider Jose Valdivia, Jr.)," said Canani, satisfied with the drill. "He will run in both the Citation and in Hong Kong next month." Val Royal is nominated to a 1 1/4-mile grass stake at Hong Kong in December.

The 5-year-old French-bred horse, bidding for an Eclipse Award as champion turf horse in North America, will carry high weight of 124 pounds in the grade II test at 1 1/16 miles on grass. The Citation is one of six grass stakes comprising the $2.1-million Turf Festival at Hollywood Park Friday through Sunday.

Val Royal will seek his third straight victory after capturing the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile and the Breeders' Cup Mile in his last two starts, both with devastating stretch kicks from well off the pace.

The 124-pound weight assignment would be the most carried by a Citation winner in the 25-year history of the race. Al Mamoon in 1986 and Text in 1979 each won under 122.

Ladies Din, trained by Canani, lost the Citation by a nose last year under 122 to New York invader Charge d'Affaires, trained by Christophe Clement.

Clement informed the racing office that he would skip the Citation this year with Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Forbidden Apple, assigned 122, and instead wait for the Hong Kong Mile next month.

A field of 12 is probable for the Citation: Val Royal, Valdivia, 124; Irish Prize, Alex Solis, 122; El Cielo, no rider, 120; Decarchy, Kent Desormeaux, 116; I've Decided, David Flores, 116; Native Desert, Eddie Delahoussaye, 116; Sarafan, Victor Espinoza, 116; Takarian, Garrett Gomez, 115; Quake, Corey Nakatani, 114; Good Journey, Chris McCarron, 113; Purely Cozzene, no rider, 113; and Capsized, no rider, 112.

Native Desert finished third in the Citation last year.

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