Majestic City , gate-to-wire winner of the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes as a prohibitive favorite one month ago, takes on seven rivals in the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) on closing day of Hollywood Park's spring/summer meet July 18. One race later, Acclamation is a standout in the $100,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIIT) on grass.
Trained by Peter Miller for Jeffrey Bloom, Majestic City was bred to be a fast one. The son of City Zip out of the Meadowlake mare It'schemistrybaby hasn't disappointed in two starts over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track, leading at every call so far.
Purchased for $180,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Company in March, Majestic City debuted at 4 1/2 furlongs May 21 with a 1 1/2-length victory as the even-money favorite. He returned June 12 at odds of 1-5 against four rivals in the Willard Proctor, winning by 3 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:04.16.
Majestic City will try to follow in the steps of J P's Gusto, who won the Proctor and the Juvenile a year ago.
Top-weighted at 120 pounds, Majestic City faces a field of maidens or recent maiden winners. David Flores is aboard the chestnut colt, who drew the far outside post in the six-furlong event.
Among his opponents are a pair from the Bob Baffert barn, Kaleem Shah's Brigand and Peachtree Stable's Night Tide.
Brigand, who drew the rail with Joel Rosario aboard, is a New York-bred son of Flatter who won his debut July 3 over 5 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood by a nose over Cloud Hopper as the 9-10 favorite. Night Tide, to be ridden from post 5 by Martin Garcia, was also a first-out winner, scoring by a half-length going 4 1/2 furlongs as the 7-10 choice June 19. NIght Tide is by Malibu Moon .
A third first-out maiden winner in the field is Pend Oreille, a California-bred son of Swiss Yodeler owned and trained by Mike Harrington. The chestnut colt won his only start to date by 2 3/4 lengths April 30 going 4 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood.
“He’s a little bigger and scopier than Swiss Yodeler,” said Harrington July 14. “But he’s got the attitude of Swiss Yodeler, which is good.”
In the 1 1/2-mile Sunset, trainer Donald Warren couldn't resist taking a shot with Acclamation at one more win on the Hollywood Park turf, where the 5-year-old bay horse is five-for-eight lifetime. No horse has ever won the Murray, Whittingham, and Sunset in the same spring/summer meet.
“His record at Hollywood Park does have a lot to do with the decision to enter in the Sunset,” Warren said July 14 from his Santa Anita base. “He has been awesome on that turf.”
Acclamation, owned by her California breeders, Bud and Judy Johnston in partnership with Peter and Mary Hilvers, has romped to victories in the Jim Murray (gr. IIT) and Charles Whittingham (gr. IT) handicaps at the current meet. The son of Unusual Heat won both of those races in 2010 as well.
He will shoulder a 124 pounds, spotting his eight rivals from eight to 16 pounds apiece. Chief among them are Imponente Purse and Celtic New Year.
Imponente Purse is a Brazilian-bred 5-year-old gelding trained by A.C. Avila that was beaten by a head when second in the 1 3/4-mile San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT) to close the Santa Anita meet April 17. The 5-year-old hit the board in three other graded stakes during the Arcadia meet but ran a troubled sixth in his only try at the current Hollywood stand, a one-mile optional claiming allowance July 2.
Celtic New Year, trained by John Sadler for owner Michael Jawl, ran third in the 'Capistrano, beaten by a half-length. The 4-year-old gelded son of North Light was second to Acclamation by 3 1/2 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile Whittingham June 11.
Green Grass Stable's Ashtar, a grade I winner in his native Chile at 12 furlongs, makes his United States debut at age 4 for trainer Ruben Cardenas.
$100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:13 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Brigand (NY), J Rosario, 117, B Baffert
2. Ruler of Dubai (CA), K John, 117, G Papaprodromou
3. Rino S (CA), T Baze, 117, M Polanco
4. Super Candy (FL), J Talamo, 115, M Polanco
5. Night Tide (KY), M Garcia, 117, B Baffert
6. He's a Bandit (KY), A Quinonez, 115, K Mulhall
7. Pend Oreille (CA), R Bejarano, 117, M Harrington
8. Majestic City (KY), D R Flores, 120, P Miller
$100,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:44 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Imponente Purse (BRZ), C Sutherland, 116, A C Avila
2. Restless Soul (GB), E Flores, 110, N D Drysdale
3. Acclamation (CA), J Talamo, 124, D Warren
4. Victorian Prince (IRE), A Quinonez, 112, S Knapp
5. Falcon Rock (IRE), G K Gomez, 114, S Callaghan
6. Celtic New Year (KY), V Espinoza, 114, J W Sadler
7. Atticus Jack (CA), D R Flores, 112, B J Koriner
8. First Settler (KY), R Bejarano, 108, N D Drysdale
9. Ashtar (CHI), M A Pedroza, 116, R Cardenas
Blinkers Off: Falcon Rock