Improving Slim Shadey aims for his second straight graded stakes win over Santa Anita's turf course when he faces five opponents in the $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) March 25.
|Horse||Trainer||Breeder / Owner|
|Leesider||Anthony K. Saavedra||
|Obrigado (FR)||Neil D. Drysdale||
|Plug Me In||Mike R. Mitchell||
|Porfido (CHI)||Dan L. McFarlane||
|Zappa||John W. Sadler||
Bourbon Bay, who shot to the top of the Southern California turf marathon division one month ago, figures to be a strong choice in the $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita grass March 20.
Obrigado, who won the San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) in 2007, will try to capture the marathon turf race for a second time against eight rivals in the Santa Anita feature on Feb. 21.
The top four finishers of Hollywood Park's July 19 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT), including two-length winner Black Astor, return for the Aug. 30 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) in Southern California.
Trainer John Sadler's Zappa, a 6 1/4-length winner of the 2008 Cougar II Handicap, is back to defend his title against Mike Mitchell's top-weighted duo of Big Booster and Church Service in the $150,000 renewal of the 1 1/2-mile event Aug. 5.
Black Astor, handed a 10-length lead with a mile to run in the closing-day $142,500 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park, made it stand up over his three rivals July 19.
The lack of horse inventory has troubled the 2009 spring/summer Hollywood Park season from its outset, so it's not surprising that the closing day $150,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) July 19 attracted just four horses to the turf course.
Heavily favored Obrigado ended a 15-race losing streak when he overpowered a small field in the 1 3/4-mile Round Table Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park June 13.
Just five horses, including supplemental entry Plug Me In, are set to go in an uninspiring renewal of the $100,000 Round Table Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf June 13. At 1 3/4 miles, the Round Table is the longest race of the Hollywood Park meet.
Multiple grade II winner Spring House ventures to Albany, Calif., for the first time in his 40-race career as the likely favorite in the $100,000 Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) May 30.
Everything went right for front-running Midships in the $196,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) as he held sway over the up-against-it Spring House on a warm closing day afternoon April 19 at Santa Anita Park.
Big Booster returns to the turf to defend his title in the $200,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) on closing day of the 2008-09 season at Santa Anita April 19.
Tracy Farmer's Commentator drew post 6 and the popular 8-year-old gelding will be the likely favorite when he makes his 2009 debut in the inaugural Charles Town Classic, potentially worth $1 million on April 18.
Trainer Mike Mitchell will be looking for the trifecta March 28 when he sends out distance specialist Big Booster and two two others in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park.
French group I winner Zambezi Sun, in his first start since the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) last fall, makes his United States debut in the $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf Feb. 22 for trainer Bobby Frankel.
Roberts Evans' Marsh Side, who became a grade I winner last out when pulling a 29-1 upset in the $2 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) at Woodbine, tops a field of 10 older turf routers in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) Jan. 19 at Santa Anita Park.
Proudinsky, second to Daytona in last year's San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) on Santa Anita's turf course, has an outstanding opportunity to do that effort one better in the $150,000 event Dec. 28.
A late change in flight plans played a key role in Joel Rosario connecting for five winners, including a graded stakes win, at Hollywood Park Dec. 6.
Favored Champs Elysees sliced the corner impressively and flew past pacesetter Mr. Chairman in the homestretch to win the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT), earning his first grade I win in the United States for Juddmonte Farms and trainer Bobby Frankel.
Racketeer, runner-up to Heatseeker in last year's Native Diver Handicap (gr. III), makes a one-week turnaround for trainer Barry Abrams in this year's $100,000-added renewal of the 1 1/8-mile Cushion Track event Dec. 6 at Hollywood Park.
The 5-year-old mare Black Mamba, scratched from the one-mile Matriarch at Hollywood Park this past weekend, instead will run in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) at 12 furlongs Dec. 6 against males.
European invader Sixties Icon, who has won three consecutive group III events in England, was installed as the 2-1 morning-line choice for the inaugural $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park.
Gary and Cecil Barber arrived at Clocker's Corner Oct. 19 in time to see the sunrise. However, they were paying more attention to Cost of Freedom, their $50,000 claim who has soared into contention for the Oct. 25 Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
Thoroughbreds in this country don't get much of an opportunity to race that far, and most of them aren't bred to cover such a long route of ground.
The Goodwood Stakes (gr. I), as usual, serves as the main prep race in Southern California for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) this season. But for the 11 entered in this year's $500,000 renewal Sept. 24, it's also the first test of Santa Anita's new Pro-Ride synthetic racing surface and will go a long way toward determining which contenders move on.
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