Grazen, who dominated the local 3-year-old crop in the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) on the front end last month, will face a couple of eastern invaders in Advice and Conservative in the $300,000 Swaps Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park July 18.
A swift California-bred son of Benchmark, Grazen carries a three-race win streak at the meet into the final weekend of the Hollywood spring/summer stand, including his gate-to-wire triumph as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Affirmed June 20.
Eight 3-year-olds are entered in the nine-furlong Swaps, which will be contested over Hollywood's Cushion Track. The field includes a couple of new faces to the West Coast -- Advice, who shipped earlier in the week from Kentucky for trainer Todd Pletcher, and the Shug McGaughey-conditioned Conservative, a recent arrival from New York.
Nick Alexander's homebred Grazen began the meet with a 2 1/2-length score over state breds in the 6 1/2-furlong NTRA Stakes April 25 for his maiden victory. Following an allowance score at 1 1/16 miles, the gray/roan colt came right back, drawing away from the Affirmed field in the stretch to win by nearly three lengths.
Mike Mitchell trains Grazen, who has scored each of his victories in front-running style. There does not appear to be anyone capable of pushing him early this time, either. Grazen ran 10th in his career debut last September against maidens and has three wins in four tries.
WinStar Farm's Advice scored a 15-1 upset in the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) over Keeneland's Polytrack , earning a spot in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The son of Chapel Royal was squeezed early and never got involved in the Derby, finishing 13th at odds of 49-1. In his only start since then, the dark bay colt finished fourth in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) June 13 on the turf at Churchill Downs.
Advice has won two of eight lifetime starts with two thirds and earnings of $269,896.
Phipps Stable's Conservative returned to New York after being beaten by one length as the runner-up in the Lexington and finished fourth in the Hill Prince Stakes (gr. III), which was contested on a sloppy track after being taken off the turf at Belmont Park June 5.
Conservative, an Unbridled's Song colt, is looking for his first stakes win while compiling two victories and three runner-up finishes in eight starts.
Of the remaining local contingent, Misremembered , a son of Candy Ride who is owned by Jill Baffert and George Jacobs, looks best. He finished second to Grazen in the Affirmed after winning consecutive races at Hollywood.
The Bob Baffert-trained ridgling will be making his fifth start in the Swaps. Baffert will be aiming for a record-tying fourth victory in the race after saddling Swaps winners Captain Steve (2000), Congaree (2001), and During (2003).
Quindici Man enters following a third in the Affirmed for trainer Craig Lewis.
Massone ran third as the 7-5 favorite in the Cinema Handicap (gr. IIIT) on grass in his last start for trainer Ron McAnally June 21. With 10 starts, the Menifee colt is no stranger to synthetic surfaces. He finished second in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields and third in Keeneland's Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) earlier this year.
Dover Street Art also returns to the main track after finishing fifth in the Cinema. Borderland Derby winner Scorewithcater will try to improve on a fourth-place finish in the Affirmed.
$300,000 Swaps Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4:30 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Conservative (KY), M E Smith, 112, C R McGaughey III
2. Massone (KY), J Rosario, 112, R L McAnally
3. Dover Street Art (IRE), C S Nakatani, 112, D F O'Neill
4. Misremembered (KY), V Espinoza, 112, B Baffert
5. Scorewithcater (KY), J Talamo, 118, D F O'Neill
6. Advice (FL), G K Gomez, 120, T A Pletcher
7. Quindici Man (KY), M C Baze, 112, C A Lewis
8. Grazen (CA), R Bejarano, 118, M R Mitchell