The $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) will be the final graded stakes ever run at Betfair Hollywood Park, and the Dec. 14 event should be one of the best 2-year-old races of the year.
Thirteen are entered in the 1 1/16-mile Cushion Track event, the last of three graded stakes on the Saturday card. The Futurity goes as the ninth race with a 4:35 p.m. PST scheduled post, while the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IIT) is the third, and the $150,000 Native Diver Stakes (gr. III) is the seventh race.
Hollywood Park closes its doors for good Dec. 22 and is planning a gala good-bye program including the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds. But there are no graded stakes scheduled for closing weekend.
Because of its importance on the calendar leading into the Triple Crown campaign, this is probably not the final renewal of the race, previously known as the Hollywood Futurity. It could become part of the stakes program at Los Alamitos Race Course next December.
Trainer Bob Baffert goes for his unprecedented seventh win in the CashCall Futurity with Tap It Rich, while fellow Hall of Fame conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer sends out a strong tandem in grade I winner Tamarando and Shared Belief. Doug O'Neill has a fourth major contender in Bond Holder, while trainers John Sadler, Ken McPeek, and Craig Dollase each send out a pair of promising youngsters.
Fog City Stable's Tap It Rich posted a smashing debut, coming from well behind to graduate over maidens in a one-mile heat by 4 1/4 lengths Oct. 12 at Santa Anita Park. So impressed were bettors that they sent the $510,000 son of Tapit out as the second choice in his next start, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
But the gray/roan colt found trouble early in the Nov. 2 test at the Futurity's 1 1/16-mile distance, getting stuck six paths wide. The extra ground left Tap It Rich somewhat compromised in the homestretch while finishing fifth, 3 1/4 lengths behind his winning stablemate, New Year's Day .
Mike Smith retains the mount on Tap It Rich as the ridgling gets a second shot at a grade I from post 5 in the big field. Tap It Rich has posted a pair of one-mile works for Baffert this month, including a 1:39 4/5 drill Dec. 8.
Baffert has won three of the past five Futurities, with Liaison (2011), Lookin At Lucky (2009), and Pioneerof the Nile (2008), and three others earlier in his career with Real Quiet (1997), Captain Steve (1999), and Point Given (2000).
Hollendorfer, looking for his first CashCall Futurity win since King Glorious in 1988, appears to hold a solid hand. Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams' California homebred Tamarando won the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity on Polytrack Sept. 4 before finishing third in Santa Anita's FrontRunner Stakes (gr. I), his first try around two turns.
The son of Bertrando comes into the CashCall off a 3 1/4-length win in a major prep stakes over the track, the 1 1/16-mile Real Quiet Nov. 23. The dark bay colt has continued to work well since, including a five-furlong breeze in 1:00 flat Dec. 7. Rafael Bejarano, who rode Tamarando for the first time in the Real Quiet, is back aboard from post 2.
Shared Belief jumped to the head of the juvenile class with his 7 3/4-length romp in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) Nov. 10, when he recorded a field-best 99 Beyer figure. The gelding, making his third start, will be tested over a route distance for the first time.
Jim Rome's Jungle Racing, Alex Solis II, Jason Litt, and KMN Racing own the son of Candy Ride in partnership with Hollendorfer. Shared Belief was purchased privately following a seven-length debut maiden win Oct. 19 at Golden Gate Fields.
Corey Nakatani has the return call from post 6 on Shared Belief, who has indicated his sharpness with a pair of bullet six-furlong moves at Hollywood this month, including a 1:12 3/5 clocking Dec. 9.
Reddam Racing's Bond Holder turned in a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, flattening out in the lane after making a bold move between horses. That effort followed a maiden-breaking win in the FrontRunner by the son of Mineshaft , who has improved tremendously for O'Neill since being stretched out to two turns.
Mario Gutierrez, who has been aboard Bond Holder for all six of his races, gets the nod once again from gate 3.
Owner J. Paul Reddam, who has sponsored the Futurity since 2007 but is yet to win it, is also represented by Electric Eddie, runner-up behind Tamarando in the Real Quiet for trainer Ben Cecil. The California-bred son of Square Eddie drew the rail in search of his first win.
Sadler will saddle Kobe's Back, who unfortunately breaks from the far outside post, and Candy Boy, both for C R K Stable.
Kobe's Back was an impressive winner of the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes in his first start June 15, and was enthusiastically supported at odds of 9-10 in the Hollywood Prevue. But a slow start hampered his chances as he finished second behind the runaway winner Shared Belief. Joel Rosario takes the mount on the son of Flatter for the first time.
Candy Boy was a smashing 8 1/4-length maiden winner at 1-2 odds in his fourth start Nov. 22 at the CashCall distance. The Candy Ride colt enlists the services of Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens. They break from post 4.
Rankhasprivileges and Sheikinator have both been supplemented for $15,000 —with an additional $15,000 to start—by McPeek.
Owned by the McPeek family’s Magdalena Racing, Rankhasprivileges, a son of Einstein, has one win in two starts and earnings of $133,600. The ridgling finished third in the Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III) Nov. 23 after defeating maidens a month earlier at Keeneland. Magic City Thoroughbred Partners' Sheikinator, a son of Curlin , is also a maiden winner, scoring at 1 1/16 miles Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs.
Dollase's entrants are Brother Soldier and Karma King. A son of Brother Derek, who won the 2005 Futurity, Brother Soldier has one win in three starts for J K Racing. He was third in the Prevue in his first local appearance. Third in the Real Quiet, Karma King also has won once in three starts for J K Racing, Brewer Racing Stable, and Chris Ewing. Karma King will race without blinkers for the first time.
Poker Player, who was also supplemented, switches surfaces for owners Gary and Mary West and trainer Wayne Catalano after finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 1. The gray son of Harlan's Holiday has only one race over a synthetic track, winning the off-the-turf Bourbon Stakes Oct. 6 at 23-1 over the Polytrack at Keeneland.
Even Echo, who has failed to hit the board in six starts for owner/trainer Cho Myung Kwon, completes the field.
$750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I, Race 9, 4:35 p.m.), 2YOs, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Electric Eddie (CA), A Delgadillo, B D Cecil
2. Tamarando (CA), R Bejarano, J Hollendorfer
3. Bond Holder (VA), M Gutierrez, D F O'Neill
4. Candy Boy (KY), G L Stevens, J W Sadler
5. Tap It Rich (KY), M E Smith, B Baffert
6. Shared Belief (KY), C S Nakatani, J Hollendorfer
7. Even Echo (KY), F F Martinez, M K Cho
8. Brother Soldier (KY), E A Maldonado, C Dollase
9. Karma King (KY), J Talamo, C Dollase
10. Poker Player (KY), V Espinoza, W M Catalano
11. Sheikinator (KY), R Albarado, K G McPeek
12. Rankhasprivileges (KY), M Garcia, K G McPeek
13. Kobe's Back (KY), J Rosario, J W Sadler
All assigned 121 pounds.
Blinkers Off: Karma King