A potential Eclipse Award winner and a wide-open Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) highlight the final day of Hollywood Park's Turf Festival Sunday.
Continuing her quest for an Eclipse Award, Golden Apples drilled a half mile on the Hollywood Park turf Wednesday in a bullet :46.20 breezing for the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) for fillies and mares on Sunday.
Bidding for an Eclipse Award as champion filly or mare on turf, Golden Apples worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 around the dogs on a firm turf course Thursday at Hollywood Park in preparation for the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) Dec. 1.
Yellow Ribbon winner Golden Apples worked four furlongs on the turf Sunday morning at Santa Anita in :50 2/5, according to her trainer, Ben Cecil.
Gary A. Tanaka's Golden Apples, with Patrick Valenzuela riding, steered clear of trouble on the outside and went on to tally a one-length victory over Voodoo Dancer in the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) at Santa Anita's Oak Tree Saturday.
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela is brimming with confidence over the chances of Golden Apples in Saturday's turf stakes at Santa Anita, in spite of the presence of Banks Hill and Voodoo Dancer.
Supplemented nominee Kachamandi, a Chilean-bred winner of last Friday's Harry Brubaker Stakes, has raised the possible field for Sunday's $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) to 11 for the 1 3/8-mile run on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
A bang-up field of nine goes postward in Saturday's feature at Del Mar, the grassy nine furlong $400,000 John C. Mabee/Ramona Handicap (gr. IT).
Trainers Ben Cecil and Howard Zucker were slapped with fines by the California Horse Racing Board for positive drug tests produced from races at Del Mar last summer, it was announced May 30.
In a bit of a man-bites-dog story, Southern California trainer Ben Cecil asked owner Gary Tanaka to remove his five horses from Cecil's barn around the first of March. The horses include Falcon Flight, who won the 2000 El Rincon at Santa Anita Park and was third in this year's San Luis Obispo Handicap, and Polaire, who captured the Glendale Handicap at Turf Paradise this year.
California-based trainer Ben Cecil has been fined HK$50,000 (about US$6,410) by Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards as a result of Falcon Flight testing positive for a prohibited substance prior to Sunday's Hong Kong International Cup. HKJC stewards will also reportedly review the circumstances surrounding the impressive victory by Sunline in the Hong Kong Mile. Greg Childs, who rode Sunline, said that he and another jockey discussed strategy prior to the race.
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