Second in his return to racing following a 20-month layoff, grade I winner Bob Black Jack will make his turf debut for trainer James Kasparoff in the $250,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 26.
The former world record holder at six furlongs, Bob Black Jack returned in good style in the Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint Oct. 29. The 6-year-old son of Stormy Jack will now stretch out to 1 1/16 miles for owners Tim Kasparoff, the trainer's brother, and Jeff Harmon.
The Citation, part of Hollywood Park's annual Turf Festival, drew nine entrants with recent Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) Jeranimo the likely favorite. The Citation is the ninth race on the card with a probable post of 4:37 p.m. PST.
In the Cal Cup Sprint, Bob Black Jack stalked a blazing pace at the rail and managed to hang on for second in a game try. He continues to train forwardly over the Cushion Track at Hollywood.
Bob Black Jack had not been out previously since capturing the San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) in February 2010 at Santa Anita. Prior to the San Carlos, he hadn't raced since taking the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) in December 2008.
Joe Talamo has the call for the first time. Bob Black Jack, whose long absences were due primarily to a suspensory ligament injury, has won five of 12 lifetime starts with earnings of $704,925 to lead the Citation field.
Jeranimo returns to California from Kentucky following a seventh-place effort in the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Nov. 5. The 5-year-old son of Congaree raced in second and led briefly from between horses before weakening in the final furlong at odds of 26-1.
Trained by Mike Pender for B. J. Wright, Jeranimo won the Oak Tree Mile before the Breeders' Cup Mile, defeating Mr. Commons by three-quarters of a length. Citation rival John Johny Jak finished third.
Jeranimo brings a lifetime mark of 6-4-4 in 23 starts with earnings of $660,400 into the Citation. Garrett Gomez takes over for Martin Garcia and will break from post 2 with top weight of 122 pounds. Jeranimo has a prior win over the Hollywood Park grass, taking an allowance in November 2010.
John Johny Jak, trained by Kristin Mulhall for owner Kretz Racing, bounced out of the Oak Tree Mile with a nose victory as the 3-2 favorite in the restricted Lure Stakes at one mile at Santa Anita Nov. 5. The 4-year-old son of Wildcat Heir, no worse than third in four Southern California starts since arriving from Florida this summer, will be aiming for his first graded win.
Victor Espinoza retains the mount on John Johny Jak, who drew the far outside post.
Looking to make amends for a last-place finish in the Oak Tree Mile is Pam and Martin Wygod's Calimonco . The 5-year-old Storm Cat horse enjoyed a solid Del Mar meet for trainer John Sadler, winning the Wickerr Stakes by a nose and finishing third, beaten by a half-length, in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT). MIke Smith takes the mount.
Assessment, a recent arrival from Washington who finished a nose behind John Johny Jak at 43-1 in the Lure, will be shooting for his first win of 2011 for Tice Ranch Stables and trainer Vann Belvoir.
A Kentucky-bred son of Jump Start , the 7-year-old gelding is 9-for-40 lifetime with a bankroll of $487,630. The Citation will be his ninth start of the year.
Also coming out of the Lure is third-place finisher Leroy's Dynameaux, who returns to his favorite turf course for trainer Mark Glatt and owner Ellenay Racing. The 4-year-old Leroidesanimaux gelding has won two of four over the course, including the Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) at the Citation distance in June 2010.
War Element, fourth in the Lure, will make his graded stakes debut in the Citation for owner-breeders Mr. and Mrs. Warren B. Williamson and trainer Carla Gaines. The 4-year-old War Chant gelding has won twice in four races.
$250,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 9, 4:37 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Calimonco (KY), M E Smith, 116, J W Sadler
2. Jeranimo (FL), G K Gomez, 122, M Pender
3. Buenos Dias (IRE), B Blanc, 113, R L McAnally
4. Leroy's Dynameaux (KY), R Bejarano, 114, M Glatt
5. War Element (KY), J Rosario, 113, C Gaines
6. Make Music for Me (KY), C Sutherland, 114, A Barba
7. Bob Black Jack (CA), J Talamo, 118, J M Kasparoff
8. Assessment (KY), D P Vergara, 115, V Belvoir
9. John Johny Jak (FL), V Espinoza, 118, K Mulhall