HOLLYWOOD PARK NOTEBOOK
JULY 11, 2012
by John Mucciolo
The signature race of the meeting headlined the Holiday week.
Hollywood Gold Cup (G1): Diamond Pride LLC et al's GAME ON DUDE (Awesome Again) made up for his narrow defeat in this race a year ago by posting a comfortable 1 1/2-length tally under Chantal Sutherland. The Bob Baffert trainee was always well handled and finished off 1 1/4 miles on the Cushion oval in 2:04.
Swaps S. (G2): Bad Boy Racing and Whizway Farm's BLUESKIESNRAINBOWS (English Channel) was allowed a clear lead and made his foes pay with a facile tally for Baffert. The three-year-old colt endured the 1 1/8 miles under Joe Talamo in 1:50 2/5 while winning by three parts of a length.
Royal Heroine Mile (G2): J. Paul Reddam's QUIET OASIS (Oasis Dream) moved into contention turning for home and gamely powered clear to a head victory in this one under Mario Gutierrez. The four-year-old filly traveled one mile on the firm turf in 1:35 in posting her initial graded score.
From a total of 43 races held at the Inglewood, California, racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 40 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 63 percent of the wins. From 29 frays contested on the Cushion oval, eight animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (28 percent), while one of the 14 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (7 percent).
We loved the way the main oval played, and has played, as we saw a bit of everything this week on the Cushion. The right horse can win from anywhere on this oval, and it's been that way for a while. Neither outside posts nor closers were at any disadvantage during the five-day race week.
The turf oval was also fair we thought, even though just one runner led at every call. Many early leaders stayed on for a minor share, while horses pressing or sitting just off the early tempo fared well, also.
Look for more of the same during the closing week coming up.
|FAVORITES:||138 (34 percent)|
|2ND CHOICES:||96 (24 percent)|
|TURF WIRE:||29 (23 percent)|
|CUSHION WIRE:||80 (29 percent)|
HORSES TO WATCH
5TH -- JIMMY CREED (Distorted Humor) followed up a sharp runner-up in his debut try with a fine win in this one, always handled like a winner under Garrett Gomez. The Richard Mandella charge has run a pair of fine races to start his career and seems to have a very bright future ahead of him.
CAMINETTO (Stormy Atlantic) made the favorite work some in this spot and did well to finish more than four lengths of his nearest foe Baffert. The debuting sophomore missed the break for the most part and made a big run to be in contention late in a sharp performance. He could also be a nice one.
6TH -- We were not fond of the ride given to HE'S VERY RARE (Unusual Heat) in here, and will tab the four-year-old colt for success at this level in his subsequent outing for conditioner Donald Warren.
6TH -- SMART AND SINGLE (Smart Strike) was hammered at the windows at first asking and delivered with a fine debut win for Baffert. The well-bred sophomore took over at will and strode home a comfortable 2 1/4-length winner in this spot under Rafael Bejarano. She could be any type.
8TH -- We're surprised that ROCK OFF (Rock Hard Ten) was not claimed out of this one, as the favorite drew off to a 7 1/4-length romp today in his debut with maiden claiming types. The four-year-old will be in with starter allowance foes next time one would think, and he could be formidable there.
1ST -- As we stated in a previous notebook, we're shocked that no one has dropped a claim for the talented and in-form MISSDEALORNODEAL (Benchmark), who dominated this field at 1-5 odds for her second straight easy win. The Jerry Hollendorfer pupil has proven tons better than her claiming foes and could surely rise up the class ladder if this barn opts for that move.
2ND -- BRINGON THE WAIN (Kafwain) made a big run at the clear leader in the stretch and fell just short in a big try under pilot Kevin Krigger. The Gary Sherlock finished more than five lengths clear of third in this one and should graduate very soon.
6TH -- PURE STORM (Pure Prize) had a fairly eventful trip and was handled curiously in here by Martin Pedroza, in our opinion. The four-year-old filly was still in the hunt late despite the rough ride and fits well with these, although she may take a minor class drop next time for conditioner Mike Pender.
8TH -- MEGA DREAM (Medaglia d'Oro) ran a big one stretching out a mile today and was a tad unfortunate not to have won this race. The five-year-old mare has improved by leaps and bounds since joining this barn and clearly must be taken seriously going forward.
A Look Ahead
Saturday plays host to a trio of graded races -- the Grade 1, $350,000 American Oaks; Grade 2, $200,000 A Gleam Handicap and the Grade 3, $150,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
Closing day will feature the Grade 3, $100,000 Sunset Handicap.