The Factor , making his first appearance since the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) three months ago, and defending champion Smiling Tiger headline the field for the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap (gr. IT) June 30 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The seven-furlong Triple Bend, to be contested by a field of nine on Cushion Track, is the sixth race on the Hollywood program with a 3:38 p.m. probable post time. It precedes the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) on the turf, which is race 9.
The Factor is perfect in four tries at seven furlongs in his career for trainer Bob Baffert, including a pair of grade I wins in the Pat O'Brien on Polytrack at Del Mar last August and in the Malibu Dec 26 at Santa Anita Park. The 4-year-old gray/roan colt by War Front has been idle since his sixth-place effort in the $2 million Golden Shaheen on the synthetic track at Meydan Racecourse during World Cup night March 31.
Owned by George Bolton and Fog City Stable, The Factor drew post 6 for his return and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano. The Factor, who will race without Lasix, will carry top weight of 123 pounds. He has won six of 11 in his career while banking $812,180.
In his only other start this year, The Factor won the seven-furlong San Carlos Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 25. He was fourth in his lone previous try on Cushion Track, which came in his maiden debut effort in November 2010.
The Factor has put in seven published workouts over the Cushion Track since May 20, most recently going five furlongs In 1:00 1/5 handily June 25.
Smiling Tiger, trained by Jeff Bonde for owners Alan Klein and Phil Lebherz, has won three of four at Hollywood, including last year's Triple Bend by 3 1/4 lengths in front-running fashion over Camp Victory, who also returns this year. The 5-year-old son of Hold That Tiger was fourth as the favorite the last time he ran into The Factor, which was in last year's O'Brien.
He will be attempting to become just the second repeat winner of the Triple Bend, joining Porterhouse, who won what was then called the Lakes and Flowers Handicap in 1955-56. Smiling Tiger has lost five straight since winning last year's Triple Bend.
So far this season, the three-time grade I winner is winless in two starts. He is coming off a third in the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 9, a race in which he lost his footing at the start and spotted his rivals 13 lengths at the first call. Smiling Tiger made a nice bid on the turn and finished up willingly while closing four wide to be third, beaten by just 1 1/2 lengths.
With regular rider Joel Rosario having moved his tack to New York, Mike Smith retains the mount on Smiling Tiger, who drew post 8 and gets four pounds from The Factor. The chestnut has a career mark of 8-2-7 in 20 races with earnings of $1,267,204.
Comma to the Top returns to the scene of the biggest victory of his career, the 2010 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) as a 2-year-old in December 2010. The Florida-bred son of Bwana Charlie has three other wins and a second from seven starts at Hollywood.
A winner in his 2012 debut on the Golden Gate Fields turf June 9, Comma to the Top races for owners Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, and Kevin Tsujihara, and is trained by Peter Miller.
Camp Victory, third in the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) May 28, will be seeking his first victory in three tries as a 5-year-old for trainer Mike Mitchell.
Claimed for $40,000 by his current connections almost 17 months ago, Camp Victory has since won two of nine since then. One of the wins came via disqualification in the 2011 Los Angeles Handicap.
Mobilized returns to Cushion Track after finishing fifth in the American Handicap (gr. IIT) on turf May 26. A California bred son of Soul of the Matter and trained by Gary Mandella for Double JH Stables and the estate of breeder Robert Reseigne, Mobilized won the Tiznow Stakes for California-breds by 7 ¼ lengths in his last start over the Hollywood main track April 28.
Away since finishing seventh of 10 in the Charles Town Classic (gr. II) April 14, Tres Borrachos will be aiming for his fourth win over Cushion Track. The 7-year-old Ecton Park gelding, racing for trainer Marty Jones and owners George Hicker and Button Stable, will cut back to one turn after routing for the past year.
Trainer John Sadler, whose lone Triple Bend victory came with Ceeband in 2001, is scheduled to send out the duo of Italian Rules and Don Tito. Seven-year-old Italian Rules scored an impressive front-running victory in an optional claimer May 24 over the track and has won five of seven with two seconds since being claimed for $40,000 March 6, 21011 by Gary and Cecil Barber. Don Tito, who is owned by the Barbers and Larry Nestadt, has been unplaced in his two previous attempts in grade I races.
Centralinteligence, second behind Roman Threat in the Los Angeles, completes the field.
$250,000 Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I, Race 6, 3:38 p.m.) 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Tres Borrachos (KY), V Espinoza, 116, M F Jones
2. Centralinteligence (KY), J Valdivia Jr., 116, R W Ellis
3. Mobilized (CA), G K Gomez, 116, G Mandella
4. Don Tito (FL), M A Pedroza, 113, J W Sadler
5. Camp Victory (VA), J Talamo, 116, M R Mitchell
6. The Factor (KY), R Bejarano, 123, B Baffert
7. Smiling Tiger (KY), M E Smith, 119, J Bonde
8. Comma to the Top (FL), J J Hernandez, 118, P Miller
9. Italian Rules (CA), K Krigger, 114, J W Sadler