Following his first United States victory for trainer Mike Mitchell, Dhaamer goes for his initial graded win in the $100,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf July 15 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Just five will contest the 1 ½-mile event. The Sunset is the third of 10 races on the final day of the spring/summer meet. It carries a 2:03 p.m. PDT probable post.
Dhaamer, a 5-year-old Irish-bred owned by Edward Brown Jr. and Jay Manoogian, captured the May 13 Round Table Stakes by 4 ½ lengths at the Sunset distance. It was his his first win from three starts in Southern California this spring after transferring from Great Britain.
The Dubai Destination gelding, a four-time winner from 13 races, will be ridden for the first time by Julien Leparoux, who is engaged to Mitchell’s daughter Shea. Dhaamer ran fourth in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT) on closing day of the Santa Anita Park season April 22.
Recovering from recent brain surgery, Mitchell is looking for his second victory in the Sunset, winning previously with Star Over the Bay in 2004.
Juniper Pass gets softer company after a fourth-place finish behind champion Acclamation in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) June 9. The 5-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse is owned by Robert and Betty Irvin and trained by Ray Bell.
Also fourth in his first start of 2012, a $62,000 allowance May 19, Juniper Pass makes his third start following a 10-month layoff. He won both the San Luis Rey (gr. IIT) and San Juan Capistrano in 2011.
Dhaamer and Juniper Pass were each assigned top weight of 118 pounds. Juniper Pass, to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, adds blinkers for the first time since February 2011.
No worse than third in three American outings for trainer Patrick Biancone, Quaintly will take on males again after finishing third, beaten by a half-length, in the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIIT) June 24.
A 4-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway , Quaintly was second in the Round Table the last time she was in against males. Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Quaintly competed against males frequently in Ireland. She has two wins in 14 races.
The last female to win the Sunset was Petite Ile for owner Jean-Francois Malle and trainer Ed Gregson in 1990.
Third at 23-1 in his 2012 debut in an optional claimer June 16, Romp will be trying to end a nine-race losing streak for trainer Kristin Mulhall. The 8-year-old Argentine-bred was only a head behind the winner Interaction in his comeback race, but hasn’t won since Oct. 21, 2010.
California-bred Renegade Storm comes back seven days after a sixth-place finish in an optional claimer at 1 ¼ miles on turf for trainer Marty Jones.
$100,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 3, 2:03 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Romp (ARG), M Garcia, 113, K Mulhall
2. Quaintly (KY), Y Fukunaga, 110, P L Biancone
3. Juniper Pass (KY), R Bejarano, 118, T R Bell II
4. Dhaamer (IRE), J R Leparoux, 118, M R Mitchell
5. Renegade Storm (CA), G K Gomez, 112, M F Jones
Blinkers On: Juniper Pass