Court Vision , winner of the Hollywood Derby (gr. I) two years ago in his only prior appearance at Hollywood Park, returns Nov. 27 for the $250,000 Citation Handicap (gr. II).
Fresh off a fifth-place effort behind Goldikova in the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs, Court Vision will get a little more real estate to work with in the 1 1/16-mile Citation. The race, which drew a field of 10, lost its grade I status this year. It is the ninth event on a 10-race card and is scheduled to go off at 4:35 p.m. PST.
The Citation is one of two graded stakes that will be run on the first day of Hollywood Park’s annual three-day Turf Festival. The card also includes the $100,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds at one mile. The Generous is the seventh race.
A second Eastern invader, Violon Sacre, is among those challenging Court Vision, the 122-pound top weight. Grade I winner Victor's Cry and comebacking 7-year-old Proudinsky are also part of a tough field.
Owned by IEAH Stable, Resolute Group Stable, and WinStar Farm and trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., 5-year-old Court Vision has won eight of 25 and banked $2,591,521.
In his best effort this year, the son of Gulch won the Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) by 1 1/4 lengths prior to the Breeders' Cup, using a tremendous surge in deep stretch after being blocked by a wall of horses coming into the lane. Court Vision also was placed first in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) in February after the disqualification of Take the Points for interference.
In the Breeders' Cup Mile, Court Vision was making up ground on the outside, rallying from seventh, but could not match strides with the amazing Goldikova.
Court Vision was trained by Bill Mott when he won the Hollywood Derby during the 2008 Turf Festival. He defeated Cowboy Cal and seven others in the 10-furlong test. Joel Rosario takes the mount this time, and Court Vision will break from post 8 while giving his rivals between four and eight pounds.
Violon Sacre arrived from Monmouth Park earlier this month, having won two in a row and three of his last four, including a one-length victory in the Knickerbocker Stakes (gr.IIIT) over yielding turf Oct. 17 at Belmont Park.
Patrick Biancone trains the Kentucky-bred 5-year-old Stravinsky horse for Bernard Weill. Violon Sacre, who raced in France previously, has won 10 of 17, banking $489,392. All three of his prior victories in the U.S. have come in stakes races. He was assigned 118 pounds for the Citation. Regular rider Pablo Fragoso journeys west to ride.
Also at 118 are Proudinsky and Victor's Cry.
Trained by Eoin Harty for Equilete Stable, Victor’s Cry has lost three times since his 21-1 upset in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) May 31 at Hollywood Park. The 5-year-old son of Street Cry turned in a disappointing fifth as the 8-5 choice in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) over the course Oct. 9.
Johanna Louis Glen-Teven's German-bred Proudinsky has not been seen since his neck triumph over Loup Breton in the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita 11 months ago. Formerly trained by Bobby Frankel and now with Frankel's former assistant, Humberto Ascanio, Proudinsky is a multiple grade II winner who was fourth in each of the last two Citation renewals. He has earned $1,225,953 in his 22-race career, including seven wins.
Ascanio won last year's Citation with Fluke.
Also on the comeback trail after a 21-month absence is Marsha Naify's Irish-bred 4-year-old Ryehill Dreamer, trained by Julio Canani. Ryehill Dreamer was group II-placed in Ireland at 2 before transferring to his new connections in Southern California for the 2009 season. He made just one start in '09, finishing third in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) in January. The bay gelding returned to action Oct. 8 with a sharp front-running 3 1/4-length win over an optional claiming allowance field at one mile on the Hollywood turf.
Bruce's Dream is one to watch out for as he seeks to become only the second California-bred winner of the Citation. Painted Wagon is the only state bred to have succeeded, winning the inaugural Citation in 1977 when it was run at 1 1/16 miles over the main track.
Owned by breeder Bruce Corwin and trained by Mike Puype, Bruce’s Dream won for the sixth time in eight starts when he captured the John C. Mabee California Cup Mile Oct. 30. The 4-year-old Atticus gelding ran a close third against open company in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) prior to that. He has never finished out of the money.
Enriched, a half-brother to three-time Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Lava Man, won the Del Mar Mile for trainer Doug O'Neill. The 5-year-old High Brite gelding out of the Nostalgia’s Star mare Li’l Ms. Leonard returns to turf after finishing third as the favorite in the California Cup Classic Oct. 30. Enriched, owned by W.C. Racing, Westside Rentals.com, and Neil Haymes, has won two of three over the Hollywood Park grass.
Colgan's Chip, just a neck behind Bruce's Dream in the Cal Cup Mile, is making only his second appearance in a graded stakes. The 5-year-old Cee’s Tizzy gelding was second, defeated by a nose by Citation rival Liberian Freighter, in his other graded try in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) Oct. 9. He’s trained by Jenine Sahadi, who won the 1995 Citation with Fastness, and owned by Green Lantern Stables.
Third in the California Cup Mile after winning the Oak Tree Mile at 22-1, Liberian Freighter has eight wins in 23 starts and has earned $583,740. Neil Drysdale trains the 5-year-old Bertrando gelding for breeder King Edward Racing Stable, Shawn Dugan, and Charles Winner.
Owned and bred by the Wertheimer brothers and trained by Richard Mandella, Meteore ran fourth in the Oak Tree Mile and is attempting to end a seven-race losing skid. The 4-year-old son of Pulpit hasn’t won since taking the La Jolla Handicap (gr. II) in August 2009 at Del Mar.
$250,000 Citation Handicap (gr. II, Race 9, 4:35 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Victor's Cry (VA), V Espinoza, 118, E G Harty
2. Ryehill Dreamer (IRE), C S Nakatani, 114, J C Canani
3. Bruce's Dream (CA), J Talamo, 117, M Puype
4. Meteore (KY), A Quinonez, 115, R E Mandella
5. Liberian Freighter (CA), D R Flores, 117, N D Drysdale
6. Violon Sacre (KY), P Fragoso, 118, P L Biancone
7. Proudinsky (GER), R Bejarano, 118, H Ascanio
8. Court Vision (KY), J Rosario, 122, R E Dutrow, Jr.
9. Colgan's Chip (CA), B Blanc, 115, J Sahadi
10. Enriched (CA), P A Valenzuela, 120, D F O'Neill