Fantastic Pick will face four of the horses he defeated in the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) last month when he goes for his first grade I victory in the $250,000 Hollywood Derby, the final race of Hollywood Park's three-day Turf Festival Nov. 28.
Trained by Jamie Lloyd for Jim Ford, Robert Mayock, and Ken Smoke, British-bred Fantastic Pick used a stalking trip to score the biggest upset in Oak Tree Derby history with his head victory at 22-1 over the Hollywood Park turf course.
The 10-furlong Hollywood Derby, the ninth race on the card with a 4:37 p.m. PST post, attracted eight 3-year-olds. Also on the program is the $100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf, which takes place an hour earlier.
Besides Fantastic Pick and Blue Panis, the 1-2 finishers in the nine-furlong Oak Tree Derby, Sebastian Flyte, who finished fourth, and Haimish Hy, who was fifth, will be back in this longer affair. Citrus Kid, second in the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Oct. 9, helps to make this an interesting test.
Fantastic Pick, a Fantastic Light gelding, has won five of 15, banking $191,773. He’s won three of his last four races -- a fourth-place finish in the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) the only blemish -- and will be making his first appearance in a grade I race. He will be ridden from post 7 by Corey Nakatani, a two-time Derby winner. Nakatani’s most recent Hollywood Derby score came with Explosive Red in 1993.
Blue Panis set an unhurried pace in the Oct. 16 Oak Tree Derby and was collared on the wire in his U.S. debut last month for trainer Fabrice Chappet, who co-owns the French-bred colt with Norman Augustin. A son of Panis, Blue Panis began his career in France where he won a pair of listed stakes. He has won three of 15 lifetime.
Three-quarters of a length behind Fantastic Pick last month, Sebastian Flyte is a British-bred son of Observatory that raced in Ireland prior to his transfer to the United States this summer. Sebastian Flyte won his American debut against optional claimers going one mile on the Del Mar turf in September prior to his fine late-running effort in the Oak Tree Derby.
Owned by Triple B Farms and trained by Ben Cecil, Sebastian Flyte has won two of 10 starts.
Haimish Hy will have a new rider in Garrett Gomez, who won the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) aboard Blame , for the Hollywood Derby. Gomez, who returned to action Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs after sustaining a shoulder injury, will resume riding regularly again in Southern California for the first time since spring.
Trained by Art Sherman, who also is one Haimish Hy’s owners along with Zvika Akin, Richard Franco, and Sy Goldstein, the son of Ecton Park was beaten by 3 1/2 lengths in the Oak Tree Derby. He captured the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar Sept. 3 and has won four of nine overall.
Also coming out of the Oak Tree Derby is sixth-place finisher Jairzihno, fresh off his first U.S. win in a one-mile allowance test on the Hollywood turf Nov. 19.
New York invader Citrus Kid makes his California debut for owners Golden Goose Enterprises, James Covello, Michael Imperio, and Nick Sallusto and trainer John Terranova. In his grade I debut, the Lemon Drop Kid colt was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Prince Will I Am in the 1 1/8-mile Jamaica over good ground at Belmont. He has been stabled with Bob Baffert at Hollywood.
“He looks good,” said Baffert. “I’m deputizing for John this week.”
In the Miesque, Holiday for Kitten can give Ken and Sarah Ramsey their second win in the race following Bail Out Becky in 1994. A daughter of Kitten's Joy , she comes off a maiden win as the 2-1 favorite Oct. 31 at Churchill Downs for trainer Wesley Ward.
“She came in on the 16th and worked (Nov. 23) four furlongs in 48 and galloped out in 1:00 4/5,” said trainer Blake Heap, who will saddle Holiday for Kitten for Ward. Joel Rosario has the call.
Also shipping in from Kentucky is the Irish-bred filly Cloneylass, now trained by Rick Dutrow Jr. The daughter of Verglas has won once in five starts and ran a distant third behind Kathmanblu in her U.S. debut in the $150,000 Jessamine Stakes Oct. 14 at Keeneland.
The lineup will also include Wave of Applause, a recent arrival from England in the Jim Cassidy barn. The filly, a winner in one of two starts for Tommy Stack, will be ridden by Mike Smith. She blew out three furlongs in :36 2/5 on the main track Nov. 24.
Red Oak Stable's Neversaidiwassweet went gate-to-wire in a maiden score by 1 1/4 lengths over the course and distance for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer Oct. 14.
$100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 7, 3:37 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Neversaidiwassweet (MD), R Bejarano, 118, J Hollendorfer
2. Holiday for Kitten (KY), J Rosario, 118, W A Ward
3. California Nectar (CA), P A Valenzuela, 116, D F O'Neill
4. Cloneylass (IRE), C S Nakatani, 116, R E Dutrow Jr.
5. Katy's Kitty (KY), J Gihua, 114, M Conlon
6. Wave of Applause (GB), M E Smith, 116, J M Cassidy
7. Lucky Trippi (FL), E Maldonado-Alicea, 114, R Cardenas
Blinkers Off: Katy's Kitty
$250,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT, Race 9, 4:37 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Lions Story (FL), M E Smith, J Hollendorfer
2. Blue Panis (FR), J Talamo, F Chappet
3. Sebastian Flyte (GB), J Rosario, B D Cecil
4. Juniper Pass (KY), B Blanc, T R Bell, II
5. Jairzihno (GB), P A Valenzuela, S Callaghan
6. Citrus Kid (KY), R Bejarano, J P Terranova, II
7. Fantastic Pick (GB), C S Nakatani, J Lloyd
8. Haimish Hy (KY), G K Gomez, A Sherman
All carry 122 pounds.